Much of the pleasure of exploring the arc around Venice—stretching from Verona to Trieste, encompassing the Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia regions—comes from discovering the variations on the Venetian theme that give a unique character to each of the towns.
Some of the cities outside Venice, such as Verona and Udine, have a solid medieval look. Padua, with its narrow arcaded streets, is romantic; Vicenza, ennobled by the architecture of Palladio, is elegant. Udine is a genteel, intricately sculpted city that's home to the first important frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo. Trieste shows off its past as a port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in its Viennese-inspired coffeehouses and great palaces. Wherever you go, the emblem of Venice, Saint Mark's winged lion, is emblazoned on palazzi or poised on pedestals, and the art, architecture, and way of life all in some way reflect Venetian splendor.