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The Historical Sights of Veneto

Posted 23 Feb 2024

The beautiful region of Veneto in the north of Italy stretches from the grandiose Dolomite mountain range down to the Adriatic Sea. Within its borders is a wealth of artistic and historical heritage that has evolved over thousands of years, tied to its unique landscape. Many elegant cities such as Venice, the floating city, and Verona, the land of Romeo and Juliet, have made a name for themselves worldwide as home to some of history's greatest paintings and architecture. Along with many great man-made spectacles, Veneto is an oasis of natural wonders where ecosystems thrive and earthly phenomena continue to evolve. Experience the most pristine nature with turquoise lakes, rolling hills and an impressive delta that Veneto has to offer.

The capital city of Venice is a breathtaking representation of how human populations have adapted to the ever-changing environment. Battling rising water levels since the fifteenth century, its uniquely organised urban system depicts the interaction between settlers and the hostile nature of their environment. The beautiful canals and floating structures are a stunning portrayal of a long-running struggle between people and water. With a rich history, Venice is now the heart of extraordinary architectural masterpieces and artistic works. Some of its smallest buildings contain works by the world’s greatest artists. Our tours allow you to experience the history of this amazing region and to give you a kick start, in this blog, we’ve compiled some of the most beautiful historic sights of Veneto for you to discover.

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Piazza San Marco

Arguably one of the most focal points of Veneto, this awe-inspiring Italian square located in Venice is home to some of the most famous buildings which display layers of architectural evolution from Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance styles. Even Napoleon himself claimed that Piazza San Marco was “the world’s most beautiful drawing room”. On a warm evening, the square is always buzzing, with people grabbing coffee or dinner in the cafés which line its walls. For those who want to indulge, Caffé Florian in Piazza San Marco is one of the oldest bars in Italy. Said to have risen in the 1720s, for hundreds of years it has been offering delicious drinks and live music to its happy customers.

It is true that Piazza San Marco sometimes falls victim to the century-old phenomenon called the Acqua Alta where Venice floods temporarily at various times of the year. This process occurs when the sea level rises over 90 metres. Since the square is at the lowest point in Venice, it is usually the first place to flood however authorities place wooden footbridges down so that locals and tourists can still enjoy the sights. The flooding here has become somewhat of an attraction in itself!

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Piazza San Marco

Doge’s Palace

Located in the Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace has been the residence of 120 chief magistrates who have ruled over Venice for nearly 1,000 years.  The structure itself is a wonder of Gothic architecture mixed with other architectural styles from different ages. The walls in the interior are adorned with some of the astounding work from the artists Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, A. Vittoria and Tiepolo. From floor to ceiling, every surface is covered in art. The palace also contains numerous grand halls, vast council chambers, frescoes paintings and, believe it or not, eerie prison cells. In the mid-16th century, a new structure was built to the side of the palace to house prisoners. This new construction was intended to improve prison living conditions with larger, more light-filled cells, however, once built many cells fell short of these expectations.

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Doge's Palace

Basilica di San Marco

Constructed in 832 AD as an ecclesiastical building to house the remains of St. Mark, the Basilica di San Marco demands to be seen and stands as the centre of religious life in Venice. To convey the wealth of the Venetian Republic, in the thirteenth century, the brick façades and interior walls were embellished with precious stones and rare marble. Meanwhile, the interior of the palace was slowly covered with gold-ground mosaics which picture saints, prophets and biblical scenes. Its predominantly gold colour is what gave this glowing building the nickname “Chiesa d’Oro”, meaning Golden Church in Italian.

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Basilica di San Marco

The Grand Canal

One of the most important characteristics of Veneto’s capital city is the beautiful canals that wind around every corner allowing transport through the city by boat. One of the biggest water-traffic corridors in Venice is the Grand Canal which connects the central districts of Venice. On either side of the channel lie centuries-old grand palaces and buildings which demonstrate Venice’s historic prosperity. The lavish bridges and structures seen from the Grand Canal show the deep connection that civilisation has formed with the water. Be sure to take a boat ride down this amazing waterway and perhaps stop off at one of the many waterside restaurants for lunch.

View our Bike & Boat Venice & Mantua Tour

The Grand Canal

Po Delta and Wetlands

The theme of water seems to be a protagonist in this stunning region. Although, on the Po Delta the water here isn’t home to humans but is rather a natural paradise for bird life. Here, freshwater from the River Po meets the sea as it flows through ancient coastal dunes before mixing with the salt water from the ocean. This landscape provides an ideal environment for wildlife and is home to over 360 species of bird including the purple heron and a colony of pink flamingos. The Po Delta is the second-largest wetland in Europe and one of the most picturesque oases in Italy. On our tours, you’ll pedal through this beautiful scenery, experiencing this true wonder for yourself.

View our Bike & Boat Venice & Mantua Tour

Po Delta

Prosecco Hills

Despite the growing popularity of the popular party drink, the Prosecco Hills are surprisingly still a hidden adventure to be discovered by mass tourism. Being sheltered by the magnificent Dolomite Mountains, this part of Veneto is named Hidden Venice for its authenticity and untouched landscape. Meander through the emerald hills carpeted with precious vines that produce some of the most delectable wines in the region. On these UNESCO-listed hillsides, sample the regional cuisine and sip bubbly whilst learning about rural Italian communities. This wine route is a leisurely cycle leaving you with loads of energy to explore and indulge.

Prosecco Hills

For more information about our tour in Veneto, give our cycle experts a call on 020 7471 7760, or view our Veneto cycling holiday here.

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