Cheap Day Trips from Venice, Italy (Verona, Murano, Burano, and more)
Venice, the capital of northern Italy's Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals - including the Grand Canal thoroughfare. Never was a thoroughfare so aptly named as the Grand Canal, reflecting the glories of Venetian architecture lining its banks. At the end of Venice's signature waterway, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark's Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city's red roofs. In the narrow backstreets you'll find neighborhood churches lined with Veroneses and priceless marbles, Tiepolo's glimpses of heaven on homeless-shelter ceilings, and a single Titian painting that mysteriously lights up an entire basilica. Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield specialty produce and seafood you won't find elsewhere - all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalizing traces of ancient spice routes. Venetians are used to setting trends, whether it be with controversial artwork in the Punta della Dogana, racy operas at La Fenice or radical new art at the Biennale. In a world of cookie-cutter culture, Venice's originality still stands out. Venice is also a great base for exploring nearby towns and attractions, and there are a number of Day Trips available from Venice to help you see more of the country while you're here.
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Your tour from Venice to Murano, Torcello and Burano begins as you board your motorboat and set off across the Venetian Lagoon to your first stop, the island of Murano, which is actually several small isles dissected by a wide canal. Disembark the boat to walk around Murano with your guide. Visit a glass factory, where you'll watch a glass blower creating beautiful pieces of glassware, a Murano tradition that dates back to 1291. Hear a bit about the island's history from your guide, who tells you about Murano's prosperity in the 1400s and 1500s, when it was the center of glassmaking in Europe. Then go admire other sights like churches decorated with mosaics and other ornamental details. Next, visit Torcello, an island established between the 5th and 6th centuries, to see its ornate palaces and churches. Highlights include the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in the 7th century, and the excavated remnants of the baptistery in the Church of Santa Fosca. Then head to your third stop, Burano, an island known for its lace production, which dates back to the 16th century and was once the best in Europe. While you visit local shops and a museum to admire high-end lace on display, admire the island's brightly colored fishermen's houses. Your tour then ends with the return boat ride to Venice.
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Escape the crowds of Venice for a full day of sightseeing in the enchanting hill towns of Veneto. Meet your guide in central Venice in the morning, and hop aboard a comfortable minivan for the approximately 1-hour drive north. Stop in the village of Marostica for a stroll through the charming medieval streets and see the square where the town's famous living chess game is played. Continue on to Asolo, where you can wander around lovely gardens and historic villas in this town known as the 'pearl of Veneto.' At nearby Bassano del Grappa, take a guided tour and then enjoy leisure time to shop for local artisan goods. Perhaps even pick up a bottle of the potent grappa liqueur for which the town is known. In Maser, explore the historic grandeur of Villa Barbaro, a wonderfully preserved estate designed by renowned Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Stroll through well-manicured gardens and admire frescoes by Veronese that adorn the grand hallways and public rooms of the villa. Finally, drive through rolling vineyards on the way to a prosecco winery, where you'll raise a glass of the beloved sparkling wine and toast your day in the country.
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Venice is hard to say goodbye to - even for the day - but the Dolomites may help you forget about it for a few hours. After meeting your driver-guide, hop in your comfortable minivan and head north through the rustic Northern Italian landscape. Make a brief pit stop in the bucolic village of Pieve de Cadore, best known as the birthplace of Renaissance painter Titian. Then hop back in the minivan and drive until you reach Lake Santa Caterina, where you'll be able to take some time to drink in the scenery. A little while later, arrive at Lake Misurina, or the 'Pearl of the Dolomites,' as it is sometimes called. The lake is especially picturesque with the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the background, three distinctive peaks that tower in the distance and one of the most well-known mountain groups in the Alps. Drive toward the peaks and stop to get an amazing view. Later, sit down at a local trattoria for a traditional Dolomite lunch at your own expense and then take some free time to go on a stroll with your guide to learn about the geology, history, flora and fauna of the area. Or, if you'd rather rest your legs, continue relaxing at the restaurant. After departing from the area around Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the afternoon, head to the chic ski resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, a spot where wealthy Italians ski and indulge in the posh ambience of the place. Take some free time here to go shopping in the chic boutiques, enjoy a coffee and dessert at a cafe or just explore the town. Meet up with your driver-guide at the set time and begin your journey back, arriving in Venice in the early evening.
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Discover the magic of the wonderful city of Verona and the regions of Amarone and Valpolicella. On this tour you will head over to the medieval towns of the Valpolicella region and have a chance to visit the 13th century church of San Giorgio with its splendid altar dating back to 712 A.D., where there are some of the most beautiful panoramic views of Sirmione and Lake Garda. From here, drive to a vineyard to have a guided visit and learn more about the famous Amarone wine. You will enjoy tasting some of the different wines they produce and a chance to purchase a few bottles to take with you, such as Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella. Onwards you'll travel to the city of Verona at Piazza Bra, where the world famous Roman Amphitheater, the 3rd largest in Italy, is located. It dates back to the 1st-Century A.D. and boasts more than 22,000 seats, making it a perfect venue for outdoor operas and concerts. You will have approximately 3 hours of free time to enable you to visit the house of Juliet from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the historical Piazza delle Erbe, and some of the exclusive shops around the city. Then just sit back and enjoy the views as you return to Venice.
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