By: Alicia Peacock Writer & Journalist | Specialist Arts & European travel

Despite the iconic status of Venice and Verona, the surrounding Veneto region still remains relatively ‘undiscovered’. Even with the rising popularity of cities like Vicenza and Padua, it is not difficult to find unique experiences off the beaten path. That is why we have created a guide to the most beautiful small towns near Venice and Verona, all under a two hour drive from the region's cultural capitals. 

Many of these special places are UNESCO world heritage sites. If you are staying in one of our luxury villas near Venice and Verona, these hidden gems will make for the perfect day out.

The Best Small Towns near Verona and Venice, Veneto

Asolo: the city of a hundred horizons 

The Italian poet, Giosuè Carducci once hailed Asolo as the 'city of a hundred horizons,' and rightly so. Nestled in the hills above Treviso, Asolo is easily one of the best villages to visit near Venice and one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. 

The medieval centre offers panoramic views across the Veneto countryside, from lush plains and vine-clad hills to dramatic mountains. It is the only other DOCG Prosecco region beyond the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, so prepare to visit a few wineries!  

What to do: Top Highlights in Asolo 

  • Explore Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi and stop by Caffè Centrale for an Aperol Spritz.
    The town’s pretty central square can be reached by one of many cobbled arcaded streets.

  • Visit the medieval castle atop Monte Ricco, once home to Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus.

  • Enjoy a Prosecco winery tour — We recommend Ca' dei Zago, an organic and biodynamic winery in the hills outside of Valdobbiadene.
    Our concierge team can help you arrange a visit when you book your luxury villa near Venice. For more suggestions read our Prosecco Handbook

  • Explore Villa di Maser for Palladian architecture, Prosecco wine tastings and frescoes by Paolo Veronese.

The Veneto landscape is scattered with Venetian villas designed by the famous Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio. We even have one listed in our exclusive portfolio of luxury villa rentals, the elegant Villa Zambonina.  

Villa Zambonina

Arquà Petrarca: the heart of the Colli Euganei 

An utterly breathtaking medieval hamlet, Arquà Petrarca is situated at the heart of the Euganean hills on the outskirts of Padua. The cobbled village streets and rustic stone facades are surrounded by olive and almond groves, lavender fields and vineyards. Arquà Petrarca is named after the famous Italian poet, Petrarch, who spent the final years of his life in this idyllic setting. 

What to do: Top Highlights in Arquà Petrarca 

  • Visit Casa del Petrarca, now a museum dedicated to the poet's life. Vibrant frescoes still adorn the walls and glass doors open out onto the tranquil garden. His tomb can be found in the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta.

  • Discover hiking and cycling routes in the Euganean hills around Arquà Petrarca.

The town is minutes away from our luxury villa, Ca’ Dogaressa, the perfect base for exploring the nearby towns of Este and relaxing in the natural thermal springs at Abano Terme, or Montegrotto Terme.

Ca’ Dogaressa

Bassano del Grappa: the namesake of the popular Italian spirit 

It is hard to believe that this alpine town is just over an hour's drive from Verona and Venice. Bassano del Grappa’s compact centre is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Venetian Prealps and Monte Grappa, with the River Brenta flowing through its centre. It is best known as the namesake of the popular Italian spirit and digestivo, grappa, and is home to two of the country’s oldest distilleries owned by the Nardini and Poli families.  

What to do: Top Highlights in Bassano del Grappa

  • Walk across Ponte Vecchio for stunning mountain views. Bassano’s defining landmark is a magnificent wooden bridge designed by Andra Palladio in 1569. 

  • Explore Museo Civico for Venetian art, including an entire hall dedicated to Jacopo Bassano, who was born in the town.

  • Grappa fans should stop in at the Poli Grappa Museum. Then order a grappa inspired cocktail at Garage Nardini in the Piazzale Generale Giardino. 

  • Brave the climb up Monte Grappa for scenic vistas of Veneto.

Castelfranco Veneto: the town surrounded by medieval walls 

This magnificent walled town near Treviso is said to be the birthplace of one of the great Renaissance Venetian masters, Giorgione. The perfectly preserved town walls and moat that surround the historic centre certainly form a striking first impression. Beyond the palatial Venetian architecture and fascinating frescoes is a buzzing scene of trendy restaurants and wine bars. 

What to do: Top Highlights in Castelfranco Veneto

  • Visit Villa Parco Bolasco for regal gardens featuring a large lake and riding school made up of 52 classical sculptures. The Venetian villa gardens are only open at weekends, but admission include discounted entry to Padua Botanical Gardens.

  • Explore Piazza Giorgione for the best view of the medieval walls and Museo Casa Giorgione for the fresco attributed to the famous artist.

  • Stop at Osteria Maniscalco for aperitivo in the intimate garden just outside the town walls. A stunning spot to sample the local wine! 

  • Dine at Hortense for a taste of local cuisine, excellent pizza and a contemporary vibe in a historic palazzo. 

Borghetto sul Mincio: a picturesque hamlet on the River Mincio

Borghetto sul Mincio is one of the most beautiful villages near Verona. The tiny hamlet of old water mills sits directly on top of the river Mincio. The crumbling 14th-century Ponte Visconteo, a Scaliger castle and so much lush greenery surround the medieval village, while rapid, water cascades flow through its centre. 

Several of the old mills on the river have been converted into restaurants, ideal for a relaxing afternoon of fresh pasta, fine wine and the sound of gently running water. 

What to do: Top Highlights in Borghetto sul Mincio 

  • Stop for Pike Tortelli at La Chiusina, a contemporary seafood restaurant on the water's edge. Handmade tortellini is the local delicacy: nodo d’amore (“love knots”) are inspired by a local legend.

  • Walk to the beautiful Sigurtà Gardens on the outskirts of Valeggio Sul Mincio. Or better yet, stay at the unforgettable Villa Sigurtà, an imperial home set within its own private slice of the gardens. The villa is like nothing you’ll ever have experienced before, where your own staff and butler will treat you like royalty.

Villa sigurtà

San Giorgio di Valpolicella: at the heart of Amarone red wine country

This sleepy, ancient village in the hills of Valpolicella seems almost trapped in time. Just 30 minutes from the centre of Verona, San Giorgio is situated right in the heart of Amarone country, surrounded by quarries producing red Verona marble, and 360 views of the timeless Valpolicella vineyards. 

Built entirely of white limestone, the village is centred around the Romanesque pieve (“rural church”) that dates back to the 700s. You may day trip to San Giorgio for its pretty cobbled streets and wineries, but you will stay entirely for the views.

What to do: Top Highlights in San Giorgio di Valpolicella

  • With the shores of Lake Garda and Bardolino just 15km away, San Giorgio is a great starting point for hikers, with plenty of trails to follow from the village centre.

  • Visit the Antiquarium for ancient history. The small archaeological museum houses artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age. 

  • Dine on the shaded outdoor terrace at Trattoria dalla Rosa Alda. The restaurant belongs to a local family who have been in the business since 1853. 

  • Enjoy a wine tasting at Monte dei Ragni di Zeno Zignoli, who produce classic Amarone, Ripasso and Valpolicella Superiore wines. The five hectare estate has been in the same family for over five generations. 

  • Tour the fourth-generation, C’a la Bionda, which also produces some stupendous DOCG Valpolicella wines. The organic winery is just a 17 minute drive from San Giorgio.

Sirmione: the town on the shores of Lake Garda

There is a reason Italy’s largest lake is the most popular among travellers to Italy. The climate is milder and sunnier on Lake Garda, and the shore is lined with pretty medieval villages and forts with a backdrop of mountains and olive groves. 

Sirmione is arguably one of the most beautiful lakeside towns, set on a peaceful peninsula with frescoed churches, narrow streets and luscious parks and gardens. The town is famous for its thermal springs, but is also a great starting point for exploring the rest of Garda by boat.


What to do: Top Highlights in Sirmione

  • For calm and relaxation pamper yourself at one of Sirmione’s thermal lakeside spas. 

  • Head to one of the small pebbled beaches for sunbathing and swimming. Outdoor lovers can also make the most of water sports like paddleboarding and sailing. 

  • Visit the 13th-century fortress, Rocca Scaligera, for unrivalled views across Lake Garda and the majestic Dolomites. 

  • For more history, the Grotte di Catullo is an immense ruined 1st-century Roman villa, which is surrounded by olive trees. 

Our concierge can arrange for a boat tour of Lake Garda so you can see other breathtaking lakeside towns like Malcesine from the water. A perfect day out if you are staying at one of our luxury villas nearby, like Villa Sigurtà

Start planning your holiday to Veneto

To start planning your visit to these pretty small towns near Venice and Verona, get in touch with our fantastic Villa Specialists. They visit all the villas we list and will be able to find the perfect luxury holiday rental for you and your group.

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