Once you’ve strolled along the canals, snacked on cicchetti, and gazed at the mosaic of the Basilica di San Marco, take some time to escape the crowds with these day trips from Venice:
If you want unique souvenirs:
Why Go: Shop for locally made lace and admire the island of Burano’s colorful homes.
Travel Time: 40-50 minutes by vaporetto
Burano, known for its lace production, is a magical island and a pleasant escape from Venice. The photogenic canals and streets are lined with brightly colored houses and shops selling linen, lace, and glass jewelry. Most visitors proceed straight from the ferry dock up Viale Marcello, past a concentration of boutiques. The quieter route is to the left along the lagoon to the first canal that splits the island nearly in half.
If you want art and architecture:
Why Go: Discover Palladian architecture at a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Travel time: 45-75 minutes by train or 1 hour by car
UNESCO declared Vicenza a World Heritage Site in 1994—and if you haven’t heard of Andrea Palladio, you will have by the time you leave. Vicenza boasts 30 of his symmetrical masterpieces, including the Basilica Palladiana in the heart of Vicenza, the indoor amphitheater Teatro Olimpico, and the revolutionary Villa La Rotonda on the outskirts of town. Even if stately columns aren’t your thing, Vincenza offers enough bustling squares, one-of-a-kind artisan workshops, and gourmet cuisine to make a visit here memorable.
If you want beaches:
Why go: Steal away from Venice and lie on a relaxing beach.
Travel Time: 10 minutes-1 hour by vaporetto
The Lido di Venezia is a thin stretch of land that separates Venice from the Adriatic and made the lagoon possible. The island’s original beach bums were 19th-century Romantic writers like Goethe, Byron, and Shelley who were seduced by their surroundings—there’s a stylish, laid-back nostalgia about it. It’s a pleasant place to pedal, lie on the beach, or take a scenic seaside stroll.
If you want Roman history:
Why go: See some of the finest ancient ruins outside Rome, and explore the city Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers made famous.
Travel time: 70-90 minutes by train or 70 minutes by car
Verona owes a lot to Shakespeare and two lovesick characters who put the city on the literary map. Thousands of tourists arrive each year intent on finding Romeo and Juliet, only to discover there’s a lot more to the city than a balcony and a tragic ending. Yes, you will find a crowded house where Juliet supposedly lived, but you can also discover wonderful bridges, delightful regional cuisine, and an intact Roman amphitheater where concerts are performed all summer long.
If you want a little tranquility:
Why go: Roman ruins, lakeside beaches, and plenty of recreational activities make for a peaceful break from the city.
Travel time: 1.5-2 hours by train or 1.5 hours by car
As Italy’s largest lake, Lake Garda offers a little of everything, from water sports to amusement parks to historic villas and ancient Roman ruins. The towns dotting its shores are nothing short of vibrant and charming, with plenty of things to do and see—both indoors and outdoors. More than any other lake, Garda is family-friendly in nature, with plenty of events and activities for children.
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