The Veneto region was formed around the core of the old Republic of Venice, which existed as an independent state from 697 to 1797. Veneto is the fifth most populous Italian region, with 4.8 million inhabitants. It has a land area of 18,399 km▓ (7,104 sq mi), slightly smaller than Slovenia or Israel.
It goes without saying that Venice is a must-see in Italy. But the region has much more to offer than the Serenissima. The other great city is Verona, an ancient Roman city that Shakespeare chose as the home of Romeo and Juliet, and one of the most colourful cities in Northern Italy. West of Verona, Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, marks the boundary with Lombardy. Scenic towns like Malcesine, Torri del Benaco and Bardolino line up the shores of the lake.
During the Renaissance, the Venetian elite built sumptuous palazzi and Palladian villas in Vicenza, now all listed as World Heritage. Among them is the Villa La Rotonda, which served as the inspiration for the design of the White House in Washington D.C. Padua has one of the oldest universities in Europe, while Soave and Cittadella have some of the most impressive city walls in Italy. There are also plenty of islands to explore around Venice, the most famous of which is Burano, with its brightly painted houses.
The spectacular peaks of the Dolomites rise in the far north of Veneto, between Cortina d'Ampezzo and Belluno.
Famous people from the Veneto include (chronologically): the Roman historian Livy, the merchant traveller Marco Polo, the Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, the architect Andrea Palladio, the Renaissance painters Titian and Tintoretto, the navigator and explorer John Cabot, the inventor of the piano Bartolomeo Cristofori, the composer Antonio Vivaldi, the adventurer and author Giacomo Casanova, the sculptor Antonio Canova, he geneticist Mario Capecchi (Nobel prize), the physicist Federico Faggin (designer of the first commercial microprocessor), and the footballer Roberto Baggio. The various members of the Benetton family, founders and owners of the eponymous fashion company, are all from Treviso.
Venetian cuisine is one of the most distinctive regional cuisine within Italy. Its varied geography, ranging from coastal lagoons, inland plains, and high mountains, is refelcted in each province's cuisine. The binding factor of all Venetian provincial cuisines are their widespread use of polenta (grounded cornmeal boiled into a porridge, and usually baked or fried) and risotto (rice dish cooked in broth, usually with vegetables, meat or fish). Ravioli and Tiramisu are generally considered to have originated in Venice.
Venetian culinary specilaties include bacalÓ ala Visentina (dried and salted cod served on white, soft polenta), bigoli in salsa (bigoli pasta served with an anchovy and onion sauce), brasato all'amarone (braised beef cooked with Amarone wine, usually served with polenta), fegato ala venesiana (calf's liver fried with onions), gran bollito veneto (a dish consisting of boiled beef, hen, beef tongue and cotechino,), pastin (mixed pork and beef meat with spices, served with polenta - specialty of Belluno), pastisada de caval (horse meat is prepared with laurel, nutmeg, cloves, salt, pepper, vegetables, flour and beef broth, and served with polenta - Veronese specialty), polenta e schie (small shrimps on soft polenta), risotto al nero di seppia (black risotto, made with cuttlefish cooked with their ink sacs intact), rixoto de g˛ (risotto made with the small goby fish), rixi e bixi (risotto-like dish cooked with green peas and pancetta bacon), sarde in saor (sardines and onions fried in olive oil with raisins and pine nuts and seasoned with vinegar), and spezzatino di musso (donkey stew).
The Veneto is one of the principal wine regions of Italy. It possesses 27 Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and 14 Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). The most famous among them are Valpolicella, Amarone and Bardolino for red wines, Soave for dry white wines, and Prosecco (Conegliano & Valdobbiadene) for sparkling wine. The regions of Conegliano and Bassano del Grappa are also renowned for their grappa (grape-based pomace brandy).
The region's cheeses are Asiago, Monte Veronese, Piave, and Morlacco. Grana Padano is also produced like in the rest of the Po Valley. Renowned cured sausages are cylindrical sopressa vicentina and the delicate prosciutto Veneto Berico-Euganeo.
San Benedetto, Italy's most sold brand of bottled water, comes from the Veneto.
Attractions are listed geographically, from west to east (left to right) and north to south (top to bottom).