In normal times, Venice, like Florence, draws millions of visitors each year. Both offer beautiful surrounding countrysides with a bounty of artistic riches and natural splendors, although many travelers know Tuscany far better than they know they Veneto, the region beyond the city on the lagoons that reaches from the eastern shores of Lake Garda to the Adriatic and from the Austrian to the Emilia-Romagna borders. But that seems to be changing as visitors—both repeat and newbies—seek out less trafficked destinations while Italy’s most popular spots swell with travelers. From 2014 to 2019 the Veneto saw close to a 46% increase in visitors, says Jasmine Tramarin of Lovivo Tour Experience, travel specialists who offer customized individual and group trips in the region. “The Veneto has a lot in common with Tuscany in that both [provide] a complete tourist offer that goes from the sea to the mountains, from art cities to beautiful countryside areas, and from lake destinations to thermal areas,” she says.
Joyce Falcone, founder of Italian Concierge, a company specializing in luxury travel in Italy, who has been included on Travel + Leisure’s A-List since 2009, says she’s seen a growth in travel to the Veneto, but feels the region still deserves more inquiries. “It is an area for a sophisticated traveler who has seen the art cities and Tuscan countryside and checked the box for the Amalfi Coast.” Falcone points out that while visitors are obviously attracted to Florence for its Renaissance history and Rome for its ancient past, the Veneto offers many unique, although lesser-known, cultural experiences that shouldn’t be missed. During warm-weather months, she likes to suggest a circular route for travelers wanting to take advantage of the region’s outdoor and artistic offerings that begins in Venice, the moves to the Dolomites (for hiking, lunching in rifugi, or mountain huts), Bolzano (in South Tyrol), Lake Garda (for boating) and ends in Verona for a performance at the famous Arena. Winter travelers and skiers can follow a similar route with some seasonal adaptations, she says.
Whatever your interests, the Veneto has plenty to offer. Here are seven reasons why you should consider this region when you head to Italy again.
All the wine routes. You can travel the Prosecco Wine Road, officially known as the Strada del Prosecco e Vini dei Colli Conegliano Valdobbiadene, which runs 50 kilometers from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene, with a choice of wineries to visit along the way. If you’re heading here in 2021, try the latest offering from producers—rosé prosecco. To sample the Veneto’s red wines, follow the Bardolino wine route near Lake Garda, and to try Amarone at the source, visit wineries along the Strada del Vino Valpolicella in the countryside north of