The city of canals, is the capital of the region of Veneto, stretches across numerous small islands in a marshy lagoon along the Adriatic Sea. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (to the south) and the Piave (to the north) Rivers.
The Venetian Republic was a major sea power and a very important center of commerce (especially the spice trade) and art in the Renaissance, and was the native place of Marco Polo, painters Titian (1477–1576) and Canaletto (1697-1768), musician Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741).
The city is divided into the six traditional districts (sestieri) of Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro (including the Giudecca), Santa Croce, San Marco and Castello (including San Pietro di Castello and Santa Elena).
The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wood piles which penetrate alternating layers of clay and sand. The buildings are often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring. Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city.
The Islands of Murano, renowned for its glass artists, and Burano, home of the Venetian lace.
Venice is also famous world-wide for its unique Carnival, and with its lagoon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Verona is an ancient town, capital of its province, situated in a loop of the Adige River near Lake Garda. Due to the nature of the Adige flow, Verona was flooded many times in history, on average every 70 years. In 1956 the Mori-Torbole tunnel (500 cubic metre of discharge from the Adige river to the Garda lake in case of flood danger) was built to avoid disasters of that kind. For its cultural and historical prominence, Verona is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Padova is the economic and communications hub of the Veneto region in northern Italy. It stands on the Bacchiglione river, 40km west of Venice and 29km southeast of Vicenza. Its agricultural setting is the Pianura Padana, the "Padovan plain," edged by the Euganaean Hills praised by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch and Ugo Foscolo. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchiglione, which once surrounded the ancient walls like a moat. Padova was where most of the action in Shakespeare's play, The Taming of the Shrew, took place. Padova has long been famous for its university, founded by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1238.
Treviso is situated some 15 km south-west the right bank of the Piave river, on the plain between the Gulf of Venice and the Alps, at the confluence of the Sile with the Botteniga. The former flows partly round its walls, the latter through the town; and it has canal communication with the lagoons. It is an old town, with narrow irregular colonnaded streets and interesting old frescoed houses. In the past it was a crafts and agricultural center of ironworks, pottery, macaroni, cotton-spinning and rice-husking, paper, printing, brushes, brickyards. Presently it is the seat of the renowned Benetton company.
The towns of Garda, Punta San Vigilio and Torri are the most beautiful spots of the middle lake. It is here that the scenery of the hinterland begins to change and the hills begin to make way for the rocky mountainous sides of the Pre-Alps. These tourist centres are also medieval towns and have castles, villas and monasteries such as The hermitage of the Camaldolesi friars.