The Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Arco dei Gavi

    This stunning structure is simpler and less imposing, but also more graceful, than the triumphal arches in Rome. Built in the 1st century by the architect Lucius Vitruvius Cerdo to celebrate the accomplishments of the patrician Gavia family, it was highly esteemed by several Renaissance architects, including Palladio.

    Corso Cavour, Verona, Veneto, 37121, Italy
  • 2. Basilica

    The highlight here is the spectacular 3rd- to 4th-century mosaic covering the entire floor of the basilica and the adjacent crypt, which make up one of the most important early Christian monuments. Theodore, the basilica's first bishop, built two parallel basilicas (now the north and the south halls) on the site of a Gnostic chapel in the 4th century. These were joined by a third hall, forming a "U." The complex later accumulated the Romanesque portico and Gothic bell tower. The mosaic floor of the basilica is the remains of the floor of Theodore's south hall. In his north hall, Theodore retained much of the floor of the earlier Gnostic chapel, whose mosaics represent the ascent of the soul, through the realm of the planets and constellations, to God, who is represented as a ram. (The ram, at the head of the zodiac, is the Gnostic generative force.) This integration of Gnosticism into a Christian church is interesting, since Gnosticism had been branded a heresy by early church fathers. The 4th-century mosaics of the south hall (the present-day nave) represent the story of Jonah as prefiguring the salvation offered by the Church. Down a flight of steps, the Cripta degli Affreschi contains 12th-century frescoes.

    Piazza Capitolo 1, Aquileia, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 33051, Italy

    Sight Details

    €3 basilica and Cripta degli Affreschi, €5 with Cripta degli Scavi; €2 campanile; €10 whole complex; all sites free with FGV Card Rate Includes: Campanile closed Oct.–Mar.
  • 3. Basilica di Sant'Antonio

    Thousands of faithful make the pilgrimage here each year to pray at the tomb of St. Anthony, while others come to admire works by the 15th-century Florentine master Donatello. His equestrian statue (1453) of the condottiere Erasmo da Narni, known as Gattamelata, in front of the church is one of the great masterpieces of Italian Renaissance sculpture. It was inspired by the ancient statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome's Campidoglio. Donatello also sculpted the series of bronze reliefs in the imposing interior illustrating the miracles of St. Anthony, as well as the bronze statues of the Madonna and saints on the high altar. The huge church, which combines elements of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic styles, was probably begun around 1238, seven years after the death of the Portuguese-born saint. It underwent structural modifications into the mid-15th century. Masses are held in the basilica almost constantly, which makes it difficult to see these artworks. More accessible is the restored Cappella del Santo (housing the tomb of the saint), dating from the 16th century. Its walls are covered with impressive reliefs by important Renaissance sculptors.

    Piazza del Santo, Padua, Veneto, 35123, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Basilica free, museum complex €7, Museum complex closed Mon.
  • 4. Cappella degli Scrovegni

    The spatial depth, emotional intensity, and naturalism of the frescoes illustrating the lives of Mary and Jesus in this world-famous chapel broke new ground in Western art. Enrico Scrovegni commissioned these frescoes to atone for the sins of his deceased father, Reginaldo, the usurer condemned to the Seventh Circle of the Inferno in Dante's Divine Comedy. Giotto and his assistants worked on the frescoes from 1303 to 1305, arranging them in tiers to be read from left to right. Opposite the altar is a Last Judgment, most likely designed and painted by Giotto's assistants. To preserve the artwork, doors are opened only every 15 minutes. A maximum of 25 visitors must spend 15 minutes in an acclimatization room before making a 15-minute chapel visit (20 minutes in certain months). Tickets should be picked up at least one hour before your reservation. It's sometimes possible to buy admission on the spot. A good place to get some background before visiting the chapel is the multimedia room.

    Piazza Eremitani 8, Padua, Veneto, 35100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €14, includes Musei Civici and Palazzo Zuckermann
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  • 5. Castello and Musei Civici

    The hilltop castle (construction began in 1517) has panoramic views extending to Monte Nero (7,360 feet) in neighboring Slovenia, but head inside to see Udine's civic museums of art and archaeology, with myriad collections that can detain you for hours. On the ground floor are the Museo del Risorgimento (tracing the history of Italian unification) and Museo Archeologico; the third floor is the Museo della Fotografia, with fascinating 19th- and 20th-century images of the Friuli. Particularly worthwhile is the national and regional art collection in the Galleria d'Arte Antica, which has canvases by Venetians Vittore Carpaccio (circa 1460–1525) and Gianbattista Tiepolo, the recently restored (2020) Il San Francesco Riceve le Stimmate (St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata) by Caravaggio, and carefully selected works by lesser known but still interesting Veneto and Friuli artists. The museum's small collection of drawings includes several by Tiepolo; some find his drawings even more moving than his paintings.

    Via Lionello 1, Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 33100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8, €10 Unico ticket also includes Casa Cavazzini and Museo Etnografico del Friuli (free with FVG Card), Closed Mon.
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  • 6. Castelvecchio

    This crenellated, russet brick building with massive walls, towers, turrets, and a vast courtyard was built for Cangrande II della Scala in 1354 and presides over a street lined with attractive old buildings and palaces of the nobility. Only by going inside the Museo di Castelvecchio can you really appreciate this massive castle complex with its vaulted halls. You also get a look at a significant collection of Venetian and Veneto art, medieval weapons, and jewelry. The interior of the castle was restored and redesigned as a museum between 1958 and 1975 by Carlo Scarpa, one of Italy's most accomplished architects. Behind the castle is the Ponte Scaligero (1355), which spans the River Adige.

    Corso Castelvecchio 2, Verona, Veneto, 37121, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6 (free with VeronaCard), Closed Mon.
  • 7. Funicular of Castel San Pietro

    Opened in 2017, this funicular ride ascends 500 feet from near the Teatro Romano up to a panoramic terrace in just 90 seconds, affording fabulous Veronese views. For the adventurous, there's scope for long walks around the parkland paths and quiet lanes crisscrossing the elevated city walls.

    Via Fontanelle S. Stefano, Verona, Veneto, 37129, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3 round-trip, €2 one-way
  • 8. Miramare

    A 19th-century castle on the Gulf of Trieste, this is nothing less than a major expression of the culture of the decaying Austrian Habsburg monarchy: nowhere else—not even in Vienna—can you savor the decadent opulence of the last years of the empire. Maximilian of Habsburg, brother of Emperor Franz Josef and the retired commander of the Austrian Navy, built the seafront extravaganza between 1856 and 1860, complete with a throne room under a wooden ceiling shaped like a ship's keel. The rooms are generally furnished with copies of medieval, Renaissance, and French period furniture, and the walls are covered in red damask. In 1864 Maximilian became emperor of Mexico at the initiative of Napoléon III. He was executed three years later by a Mexican firing squad. During the last years of the Habsburg reign, Miramare became one of the favorite residences of Franz Josef's wife, the Empress Elizabeth (Sissi). The castle was later owned by Duke Amedeo of Aosta. Changing exhibitions in the revamped Sala Progetti showcase the impressive museum archive. Tours in English are available by reservation. Surrounding the castle is a 54-acre park. To get here from central Trieste, take Bus No. 36 from Piazza Oberdan; it runs every half hour.

    Viale Miramare, Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 34135, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10
  • 9. Musei Civici degli Eremitani

    Usually visited along with the neighboring Cappella degli Scrovegni, this former monastery houses a rich array of exhibits and has wonderful cloister gardens with a mix of ancient architectural fragments and modern sculpture. The Pinacoteca displays works of medieval and modern masters, including some by Tintoretto, Veronese, and Tiepolo. Standouts are the Giotto Crucifix, which once hung in the Cappella degli Scrovegni, and the Portrait of a Young Senator, by Giovanni Bellini (1430–1516). Among the archaeological finds is an intriguing Egyptian section, while the Gabinetto Fotografico is an important collection of photographs. Set aside at least 60–90 minutes to appreciate the scope of this fabulous museum complex.

    Piazza Eremitani 8, Padua, Veneto, 35121, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10, €14 with Scrovegni Chapel and Palazzo Zuckermann; free with PadovaCard, Closed Mon.
  • 10. Museo Canova

    The most significant cultural monument in the Asolo area is this museum dedicated to the work of the Italian neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova (1757–1822), whose sculptures are featured in many major European and North American cultural institutions. Set up shortly after the sculptor's death in his hometown, the village of Possagno, the museum houses most of the original plaster casts, models, and drawings made by the artist in preparation for his marble sculptures. In 1957 the Museo Canova was extended by the Italian architect Carlo Scarpa.

    Via Canova 74, Possagno, Veneto, 31054, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10, Closed Mon.
  • 11. Museo Diocesano e Gallerie del Tiepolo

    The handsome Palazzo Patriarcale o Arcivescovile contains several rooms of frescoes by the young Gianbattista Tiepolo, painted from 1726 to 1732, which comprise the most important collection of early works by Italy's most brilliant 18th-century painter. The Galleria del Tiepolo (1727) contains superlative Tiepolo frescoes depicting the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Judgment of Solomon (1729) graces the Pink Room. There are also beautiful and important Tiepolo frescoes in the staircase, throne room, and palatine chapel of this palazzo. Even in these early works we can see the Venetian master's skill in creating an illusion of depth, not only through linear perspective, but also through subtle gradations in the intensity of the colors, with the stronger colors coming forward and the paler ones receding into space. Tiepolo was one of the first artists to use this method of representing space and depth, which reflected the scientific discoveries of perception and optics in the 17th century. The Museo Diocesano here features sculptures from Friuli churches from the 13th through 18th centuries; and don't miss the magnificent library, the Biblioteca Arcivescovile Delfiniana.

    Piazza Patriarcato 1, Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 33100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8, includes Museo Diocesano (free with FVG Card), Closed Tues.
  • 12. Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea–Casa Cavazzini

    Udine's fine civic collection of modern and contemporary art is housed in the handsome and part-modernized 16th-century Casa Cavazzini, which retains some ornate apartment interiors. The first and second floors display the permanent collection: first-floor highlights include bold sculptural works by the three Udinese brothers Dino, Mirko, and Afro Basaldella, with a backdrop of 14th-century frescoes discovered during the 2012 refurbishing. There are also fine works by Giorgio Morandi, Renato Guttuso, and Carlo Carrà. Up a floor is the Collezione Astaldi, spanning the 1920s through the 1960s, and Collezione FRIAM, with '60s and '70s works. Worth seeking out are Giorgio de Chirico's I Gladiatori (1931) and pieces by 20th-century American icons Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, and Sol LeWitt. Entry to themed temporary exhibitions costs extra.

    Via Cavour 14, Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 33100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon., €5 (€12 temporary shows), €10 Unico ticket also includes Castello and Museo Etnografico del Friuli (free with FVG Card)
  • 13. Museo Revoltella–Galleria d'Arte Moderna

    Housed in three magnificent buildings and partly remodeled by influential Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, the Revoltella provides a stimulating survey of 19th- and 20th-century art and decoration. Building on the bequeathment of the grand palazzo and art of Triestino collector-industrialist Pasquale Revoltella (1795–1869), the institution has continued to add important artworks from the Venice Biennale by the likes of Carrà, Mascherini, Morandi, de Chirico, Manzù, Fontana, and Burri. In contrast, a gorgeous cochlear staircase connects the three floors of the museum: its history and 1850–60 cityscapes are on the ground floor; 19th-century classical statuary, portraits, and historic scenes take up the first; while the third preserves opulent saloni.

    Via Diaz 27, Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 34123, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Tues.
  • 14. Palazzo del Bo

    The University of Padua, founded in 1222, centers on this predominantly 16th-century palazzo with an 18th-century facade. It's named after the Osteria del Bo (bo means "ox"), an inn that once stood on the site. It's worth a visit to see the perfectly proportioned anatomy theater (1594), the beautiful Old Courtyard, and a hall with a lectern used by Galileo. You can enter only as part of a guided tour; weekend/public holiday tours allow access to other parts of the university; most guides speak English, but it is worth checking ahead by phone.

    Via 8 Febbraio, Padua, Veneto, 35122, Italy
    049-8275111-university switchboard

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €7; €12 extended tour weekends and public holidays
  • 15. Palazzo della Ragione and Torre dei Lamberti

    An elegant 15th-century pink-marble staircase leads up from the mercato vecchio (old market) courtyard to the magistrates' chambers in this 12th-century palace, built at the intersection of the main streets of the ancient Roman city. The interior now houses exhibitions of art from the Galleria d'Arte Moderna Achille Forti. You can get the highest view in town from atop the attached 270-foot-high Romanesque Torre dei Lamberti. About 50 years after a lightning strike in 1403 knocked its top off, it was rebuilt and extended to its current height.

    Piazza dei Signori, Verona, Veneto, 37121, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Gallery and tower €8 (free with VeronaCard); €4 gallery only; €6 tower only, Gallery closed Mon.
  • 16. Porta dei Borsari

    As its elegant decoration suggests, this is the main entrance to ancient Verona—dating, in its present state, from the 1st century. It's at the beginning of the narrow, pedestrianized Corso Porta Borsari, now a smart shopping street leading to Piazza delle Erbe.

    Corso Porta Borsari, Verona, Veneto, 37121, Italy
  • 17. San Zeno Maggiore

    One of Italy's finest Romanesque churches is filled with treasures, including a rose window by the 13th-century sculptor Brioloto that represents a wheel of fortune, with six of the spokes formed by statues depicting the rising and falling fortunes of mankind. The 12th-century porch is the work of Maestro Niccolò; it's flanked by marble reliefs by Niccolò and Maestro Guglielmo depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments and from the legend of Theodoric. The bronze doors date from the 11th and 12th centuries; some were probably imported from Saxony, and some are from Veronese workshops. They combine allegorical representations with scenes from the lives of saints. Inside, look for the 12th-century statue of San Zeno to the left of the main altar. In modern times it has been dubbed the "Laughing San Zeno" because of a misinterpretation of its conventional Romanesque grin. A famous Madonna and Saints triptych by Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506) hangs over the main altar, and a peaceful cloister (1120–38) lies to the left of the nave. The detached bell tower was finished in 1173.

    Piazza San Zeno, Verona, Veneto, 37100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3 (free with Church Cumulative Ticket or VeronaCard)
  • 18. Teatro Olimpico

    Palladio's last, perhaps most spectacular work was begun in 1580 and completed in 1585, after his death, by Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552–1616). Based closely on the model of ancient Roman theaters, it represents an important development in theater and stage design and is noteworthy for its acoustics and the cunning use of perspective in Scamozzi's permanent backdrop. The anterooms are frescoed with images of important figures in Venetian history. One of the few Renaissance theaters still standing, it can be visited (with guided tours) during the day and is used for concerts, operas, and other performances.

    Piazza Matteotti 12, Vicenza, Veneto, 36100, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11; €20 Vicenza Card, includes Palazzo Barbaran da Porto and Palazzo Chiericati, plus others, Closed Mon.
  • 19. Tempietto Longobardo

    Seeing the beautiful and historically important Tempietto Longobardo from the 8th century is more than enough reason to visit Cividale. Now inside the 16th-century Monastery of Santa Maria in Valle, the Tempietto was originally the chapel of the ducal palace, known as the Gastaldia. The west wall is the best-preserved example of the art and architecture of the Lombards, a Germanic people who entered Italy in 568. It has an archway with an exquisitely rendered vine motif, guarded by an 8th-century procession of female figures, showing the Lombard interpretation of classical forms that resembles the style of the much earlier Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, a town that had passed briefly to Lombard rule in 737. The post-Lombard frescoes decorating the vaults and the east wall date from the 13th and 14th centuries, and the fine carved wooden stalls also date from the 14th century.

    Via Monastero Maggiore, Cividale del Friuli, Friuli Venezia Giulia, 33051, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4; €9 combined ticket, includes Museo Archeologico and Museo Cristiano e Tesoro del Duomo (free with FVG Card)
  • 20. Tempio Canoviano

    One of the most impressive and historically significant neoclassical buildings in Italy, the Tempio Canoviano, a church, was designed by Canova in 1819 and finished in 1830, incorporating motifs from the rotunda of the Roman Pantheon and the pronaos of the Parthenon. The church contains several works by Canova, including his tomb, along with paintings by Luca Giordano, Palma il Giovane, and Il Pordenone.

    Piazza Canova, 31054, Italy

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free

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