Venetia Attractions Veneto
SituationThe region of Venetia, the territory of the old Republic of Venice, lies in the northeast of the North Italian plain, extending northward from the lower course of the Po to the Venetian Alps and bounded on the west by Lake Garda and the River Mincio, on the east by the Adriatic coast, a strip of former marshland now occupied by numerous lagoons.
The area is now divided into three administrative regions: in the east Friuli-Venezia Giulia; in the north Trentino-Alto Adige; and between these two, extending towards the Po and the Adriatic, the region of Veneto (formerly Venezia Euganea), the heartland of the old territory of Venetia.EconomyThe region of Veneto is notable for its scenic variety and economic diversity. The population is concentrated mainly in the larger cities of the Po plain, which has a highly developed agriculture (grain, particularly maize and rice, vines, fruit, vegetables, cattle-farming), with the associated processing industries (canning, manufacture of foodstuffs). Large companies have settled here as there is much general industrial development (textiles, building materials, metalworking, chemicals, petro-chemicals, shipbuilding), promoted by an abundant supply of power (hydro-electric schemes in the Alps, natural gas in the Po plain). The region is also famous for its applied and decorative art, in particular the glass-blowing and lace-making of the Venice area.TipThe holiday and tourist trade is an additional source of income. Lake Garda and the area around Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Dolomites attract visitors from far and wide with the beauty of their scenery, and the old cities of Venice, Padua, Verona and Vicenza are among the highlights of any tour of Italy. The "Villas in Veneto" are a special feature of this region.
Interesting Small Towns
In northern Venetia, on the River Piave, is the provincial capital of Belluno (389m/1,265ft; pop. 36,000) which dates back to pre-Roman times. The cathedral, built from 1517 onwards and restored in 1873, has two beautiful altarpieces in the south aisle; from the campanile, 68m/223ft high, there are fine views. Also in this square are the Palazzo dei Rettori (1496), a fine Early Renaissance building which now houses the Prefecture, and the Gothic church of Santo Stefano (1468), with an adjoining cloister. The Museo Civico, with pictures and bronzes, is worth visiting.
12km/7mi southeast of Belluno is a winter sports area on the Nevegal (chair-lift to Rifugio Cadore, 1,600m/5,280ft; Alpine garden).
There is an attractive road from Belluno (30km/19mi northwest) through the magnificent gorge on the River Cordevole known as the Canal d'Agordo (15km/9mi long) to the little town of Agordo (611m/2,021ft; pop. 4,000), ringed by high mountains, a popular walking and climbing center. In the main square is the picturesque Palazzo Crotta di Manzoni (17th-18th centuries).
From Agordo it is another 18km/11mi north to the south end of the Lago D'Alleghe (966m/3,188ft), a lake 2km/1.25mi long formed by a landslide in 1771.
On the east side of the Lago D'Alleghe lies the village of Alleghe (979m/3,231ft), a popular summer resort and climbing center. From here there is a pleasant walk on a bridle-path which goes east (3 hours) to the somber Lago Coldai (2,146m/7,082ft); then another 20minutes over the Coldai pass (2,190m/7,227ft) to the Rifugio Coldai (2,150m/7,095ft), magnificently situated on the northern slopes of the massive Monte Civetta (3,218m/10,619ft), which can be climbed from here in 6 hours (guide necessary).
Three km/2 mi northwest of Alleghe is the village of Caprile (1,023m/3,376ft), from which an excursion can be made up the Pettorina valley to the villages of Rocca Pieàtore (3km/2mi; 1,143m/3,772ft) and Sottoguda (7km/4.5mi; 1,252m/4,132ft). From here it is possible in summer to continue for another 7km/4.5mi on the old road through the gorge of Serrai di Sottoguda to the Malga Ciapela (1,428m/4,712ft; cableway via the Forcella Serauta 2,270m/7491ft to the Punta di Rocca 3,270m/10,791ft) and the Pian di Lobbia (1,841m/6,075ft); then 2km/1.25mi to the Fedaia pass (2,047m/6,756ft) and another 3km/2mi along the Lago di Fedaia to the Rifugio Marmolada; chair-lift to Marmolada glacier and road to Canazei.
18km/11mi northeast of Belluno, at the mouth of the Zoldo valley, is the little town of Longarone (468m/1,544ft), which was destroyed on October ninth 1963, together with four neighboring villages, by a flood wave 100m/330ft high when a landslide on Monte Toc caused the Lago di Vajont to overflow. Some 2,000 people, including 1700 in Longarone, lost their lives in the disaster; the town is being rebuilt on the slopes to the west.
From Longarone a road climbs up (sharp bends, tunnels), passing through the wild Vajont gorge (4km/2.5mi long; galleries through rock), to the Lago di Vajont, a reservoir formed by a dam 265m/765ft high, now largely drained, and then over the Passo di Sant'Osvaldo (827m/2,729ft) to the summer resort of Cimolais (652m/2,152ft).
Pieve di Cadore
25km/16mi northeast of Longarone up the Piave valley, which becomes steadily narrower, is Pieve di Cadore (878m/2,897ft), chief town of the upper Piave region and a popular health and winter sports resort, beautifully situated high above the River Piave, here dammed to form a lake 8km/5mi long. In the main square is a monument to Titian, who was born here; his birthplace (museum) is in a little square with a fountain. The parish church has a Madonna with Saints by Titian.
Bassano del Grappa
In the west of the region of Veneto, some 40km/25mi north of Padova, lies Bassano del Grappa (122m/403ft; pop. 39,000) where an old wooden bridge leads over the River Brenta. The town is noted as the home of the Da Ponte family, the most important member of which was Jacopo da Ponto, called Bassano. The Museo Civico and the cathedral contain works by this painter.
The Municipal Museum in Bassano del Grappa has a notable picture gallery that features work by local artists including the da Ponte family.
In the south of the Veneto region, on the Naviglio Adigetto, lies the provincial capital of Rovigo (7m/23ft; pop. 53,000). In the center of the town in the elongated Piazza Vittorio Emanuele are a tall column bearing the lion of St Mark, the Palazzo del Municipio or Loggia dei Notai (Town Hall, with tower) and the Pinacoteca dei Concordi (picture gallery, with paintings of the Venetian school). To the west is the cathedral (17th century; restored) and to the north of this two towers and the remains of the old castle. In the east of the town is the pilgrimage church of "La Rotonda" (1600).
At the east end of the region of Venetia is Portogruaro (5m/16ft; pop. 25,000), with fine old arcaded houses, a Gothic Town Hall (14th-16th century) and a Romanesque leaning tower (the campanile of the cathedral). The Museo Nazionale Concordiese contains Roman and Early Christian remains from Concordia Sagittaria, the Roman military station of Concordia, 2km/1.25 mi downstream, which preserves a Roman bridge and an early medieval baptistery.
28km/16mi northwest of Portogruaro, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, is the old provincial capital of Pordenone (24m/79ft; pop. 51,000), birthplace of the painter Giovanni de Sacchis, known as Pordenone (1484-1539). There are pictures by this artist in the Late Gothic cathedral (15th century) and in the Pinacoteca Civica. The Town Hall was built between 1291 and 1365. The Palazzo Amalteo, a little to the north, houses a natural history museum. Cortina d'Ampezzo, Dolomites, Lake Garda, Padua, Venice, Verona, Vicenza.
The town of Conegliano is famed for its viticultural research station. Subsequently, the town offers a vast array of vintages from all around the world.