The first-time visitor to Venice arrives with a picture of what to expect – and it turns out to be quite well-founded.
The photographs you've seen of the Palazzo Ducale, the Basilica di San Marco, the palaces along the Canal Grande are simply the extraordinary truth. But Venice is not all there is to this beautiful and fascinating region.
Padua and Verona are historical and cultural destinations with masterpieces by Giotto, Donatello and Mantegna and a profusion of great buildings from Roman times to the Renaissance.
The rich, flat land around the Po supports some of Italy's most productive farms and vineyards.
For outdoor types, the interesting terrain lies in its northern part, especially in the area above Belluno and Vittorio Veneto, where the wooded slopes of the foothills – excellent for walking – soon give way to the savage precipices of the eastern Dolomites.