It’s hard to deny that Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Incredible outdoor adventures, wonderfully exquisite food, and of course unforgettable beauty.
When planning a trip through the country of Italy, two cities top the list of most travel websites; Verona and Venice. But which is better?
Many people who travel to Europe are looking for a getaway and not a tourist attraction. However, others might search out tourism, history, and sightseeing over intimate and relaxing personal experiences. Verona and Venice both have a lot to offer but in a number of different ways.
Verona or Venice – Which Is Best For Foodies?
When travellers come for Italian experiences, they usually think about the food and wine. Both Venice and Verona offer excellent venues, restaurants, and cafes for tourists. However, each city has its take on the best food and drink locations and menus.
Although Italian food paired with wine is one of the most popular dishes globally, Verona and Venice are pretty different in tourists’ experiences when visiting each city.
The restaurants in Venice are great but can be pretty pricey. One of the best parts about Venice is finding small coffee shops and cafes where the afternoon turns into a stroll.
The food of Venice is culturally vital, and although there are not many local wineries in the city of Venice, the pairing of wine and food in the city is exceptional. Here are some of the best dishes of food that should be tried while in Venice;
Sarde in Saor – Because Venice is a coastal town, seafood dishes are popular. This sweet and sour dish of sardines marinated in a sauce or “saor” of raisins, vinegar, onions, and pine nuts helps preserve the fish.
Baccala Mantecato – This seafood dish has a consistency similar to hummus. It is lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, and sometimes garlic or peppers and used as a spread over toasted bread.
Risotto al nero di seppia – Many visitors to Venice get repelled by the black colour and taste of salty brine. However, it is considered a delicacy. The onion, wine, squid, ink, and tomato flavours for brave and adventurous diners.
Many of the restaurants in Verona are great for peaceful and lovely dining experiences. The seafood dishes of Venice top the quality of dinner plates in Verona. However, you can find many of the same cuisines that are native to Venice in Verona.
All that being said, if you’re a connoisseur of wine and pairing with food there is no more extraordinary wine-producing region in the world than the rolling hills of Verona. There are many of the best wineries in all of Italy around Verona.
According to The Guardian newspaper, the grape-growing region in Italy known as Valpolicella is among the world’s best.
Below is a list of what I believe to be the best places where you can taste delicious wines or order bottles at local restaurants.
Le Bignell – Located right outside of the border of Verona, Le Bignell has been owned by the same vintner family since 1818. Tours are available, and there are many of their bottles available around Italy, especially in the restaurants of Verona.
Tezza – The Tezza family has a unique blend of modern and traditional winery applications and wines on its small ranch. The location is also in a unique micro-climate region known as Valpantena valley.
Massimo – One of the most modern wineries in the region, this estate is hard to find. The estate is located in a heavily wooded area outside Verona and makes for a beautiful day trip.
Verona or Venice – Which Is Best For Sightseeing?
In our opinion, sightseeing is an essential activity on a city break and visiting Verona or Venice is no different.
While the quality of the sights in both Verona and Venice are much the same the quantity is significantly higher in Venice with enough things to do to fill anything from three to five days.
Everyone, we’ve spoken to who visits Venice does so to see the incredible sights. Whether it be the shops, cafes, and restaurants that line the streets and canals get beautifully designed with old and charming architecture – there’s something for everyone.
According to The New World Encyclopedia, the city of Venice is deemed “The Floating City” or the “The City of Water” because of the many romantic waterways that intersect it.
Gondolas floating down the city’s waters under stone bridges and in between ancient buildings seems serene and picturesque from afar.
The Grand Canal is also surrounded by legendary and excellent art museums and other important artistic venues with a list of the most popular according to the official English tourist site, Welcome Venice below:
- Montego Dei Turchi
- Palazzo Vendramin Calergi – Casinò
- Ca’ Pesaro – Modern Art Gallery and Oriental Art Museum
- Ca’ d’Oro
- Ca’ Foscari – University
- Ca’ Rezzonico – Museum of the eighteenth century
- Palazzo Grassi – Collection of contemporary art by François Pinault
- Gallerie dell’Accademia – The most famous Venetian painters from Tintoretto, Bellini, Tiziano, Carpaccio to Giorgione’s famous ‘Tempest’
- Collezione Peggy Guggenheim – Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
- Punta della Dogana – collection of contemporary art by François Pinault
Below are listed some of the most famous historical sites for touring while in Venice according to both our research and experience in visiting Venice.
Saint Mark’s Square
No countdown of the best and most historical places in Venice would be complete without mentioning Saint Mark’s Square. This large plaza is considered the central meeting place and heart of Venice.
The square is significant and remarkable for its proximity to the Grand Canal. Many historical monuments and buildings surround it.
You’ll likely spend a day or more in this plaza exploring and sightseeing whenever in Venice as it’s at the heart of the city itself.
Pro Tip: The Venice Historical Center offers a 35-minute walking tour around the plaza’s political offices and apartment buildings. It ends with a gondola ride down the Grand Canal.
The Grand Canal
Venice is one of the most amazing cities globally, with significant streets made entirely of water. The grand canal is the largest of these water streets.
It is lined with gondolas or diesel-powered ferries that take tourists up and down, viewing the sights and sounds of Venice all year round.
The curves of the Grand Canal are lovely and mesmerizing, no matter which type of watercraft transportation you take. UNESCO defines the Grand Canal as a World Heritage Center because of the engineering masterpiece and age.
THE CÀ D’ORO PALACE
The gothic palace of CÀ D’ORO is located right alongside the Grand Canal. It is a beautiful stopping place for sightseeing and reflection on artwork. The interior is lined with gold leaf, so the word “gold” is in the palace name.
The roof and arches are pointed and reflect Moorish influence, unlike some other architecture around Venice.
The World Monuments Fund claims that this palace is one of the most photographed along the Grand Canal.
It is also nicely restored and offers a pristine look at the architecture of the period built for modern-day tourists and sightseers.
The Bridge of Sighs
Named in the 17th century, the Bridge of Sighs is a sight to behold for lovers and travellers along the waterways of Venice.
Taking a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs is an event that most tourists partake in because of the tall marble walls of buildings on each side and the excellent Giorgio lagoon waters.
The Bridge of Sighs itself gets mentioned in a famous Lord Byron poem because of the two very different places: a prison on one side and a palace on the other.
It is even said that sighs come from the audible gasps that prisoners would make as they viewed the lagoon waters as their last vision of freedom before being placed in jail cells.
The city of Verona is for lovers. The winding streets lead to intimate romantic restaurants where some of the best food gets paired with delicious wine.
Then you may find yourself at a rowdy bar or packed plaza where a festival, music performance, or farmers market is taking place.
Verona may not have the notoriety that Venice does, but for some, that adds charm. A dramatic landscape of ancient buildings intersected by a beautiful river is inspiring.
After all, it is the city where one of Shakespeare’s most famous stories, Romeo & Juliet, takes place!
Sure, there are plenty of places for sightseeing and tourism in Verona (especially if you are a fan of The Bard). Still, it is never as busy and crowded as the nearby city of Venice.
The buildings, streets, waterways, and bridges of Verona have some roots in Roman antiquity. For travellers looking for heritage and history, Verona has a lot to offer.
Many sites are well preserved, such as the Piazza Bras Roman arena. It is in such good shape, they still have summer operas there every year.
La Piazza Delle Erbe
Plazas (called piazzas) are the beating heart of Italian cities like Verona. La Piazza Delle Erbe is no different and is one of the most important in Verona.
Here you will witness actual local language, cultural meetings, and markets of fresh produce and other wares.
Strolling down the street and experiencing the life of Verona as the locals experience it will have you falling in love with the city. Make sure you bring money for the cafes and shops and keep your passport and wallet or purse close to your person, as pickpockets target this tourist hotbed.
Completed in 30 AD, the ancient Roman Amphitheatre in Verona is in excellent condition and a treasure you should enter and explore.
This amphitheatre is one of the largest in Italy and best perceived in the world. It still hosts concerts and operas to this day!
Suppose you have time and are visiting Verona in the summer. In that case, the opera series for the city takes place inside the roman amphitheatre.
You can sit, watch, and listen alongside the ruins of this incredible and ancient amphitheatre. As you sit, realize that you are being entertained in a space that has thrilled visitors for thousands of years.
Verona or Venice – Which Is Best For History?
It’s no secret that Italy is steeped in historical significance and in this case, both Venice and Verona have been recognised by UNESCO.
Venice has a treasure trove of historical sites that educate and thrill all those who visit them. The churches, public artwork, architecture of the building and canals, and even the streets themselves are hundreds of years old in some places.
Dedicated historical tours of the city are readily available. Some tours are completely free (although a tip is recommended). Meanwhile, a private historical tour is also easy to book both online in advance or in-person upon your arrival.
While you can conduct a self-guided tour with a guide book walking around and visiting the main attractions of the city.
A guided tour certainly has added personality, charm and that extra extra attention to detail which is in my opinion well worth while for history buffs.
Inducted into the UNESCO heritage list in 2000, Verona is owing to its artistic heritage. The city has always been a historical melting pot amid the contentious and sometimes nationalistic country of Italy.
Here you will find many different religions and cultural traditions played out in festivals and restaurants. There are also incredibly well preserved remnants of ancient influence from thousands of years ago.
Much like Venice historically focused tours are available to be both booked in advance online or in person upon your arrival. However, I’d advice booking in advance as there are fewer tour companies operating in Verona and therefore tours can be booked up quickly.
Again, Verona is a city with detailed guide books that can take you on your own self-guided historical tour of the city however, again in my opinion a guided tour in this case is the better option as it adds a level of charm and attention to detail that can’t be found in guide books alone.
Verona or Venice – Which Is The Most Expensive?
It’s no secret that a trip to Italy can be expensive and therefore saving money can sometimes be a factor in where you travel within the country. While there’s certainly more variety in Venice, you’ll typically find that prices of food, accommodation and public transport are higher when compared to the nearby Verona.
One night in a basic hotel in Venice costs around €80, with prices increasing to hundreds of euros per night depending on the hotel’s star rating and location. Meanwhile, a bed in a hostel can often be achieved for around €50 per person, per night.
We personally stayed in Mestre and took the bus to Venice during our visit. The bus takes around 20 minutes each way and you can purchase tickets that allow unlimited transport over a set period of time online or in person upon your arrival.
Even if you’re staying within Venice you’re still likely going to want to get a travel pass or budget to spend some money on travel to get you to attractions and to and from the airport.
Mainstream and independent fast-food chains, cafés and supermarkets are all readily available so you can pick up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for an affordable price. We personally opted for a large breakfast and then skipped lunch, before splurging a little on dinner.
The best way to save money on attractions in Venice is to purchase your tickets in advance. This also helps minimise the amount of time you’ll spend waiting in line – perfect if you’re only in the city for a day or two.
If it’s your first time in Venice then consider picking up a city pass. This will provide you with access to a multitude of attractions in the city for one fixed price.
Based on our experience a basic three-night break in Venice for a couple (including accommodation, transport, food and attractions) is likely going to cost in the region of €600.
The cost for a solo traveller is likely going to be around €350 and the cost for a family is likely going to be in the region of €1,000. Of course, these prices could significantly increase depending on the level of luxury you’re looking for in your trip.
A double room in a hotel in Verona is likely to set you back around €50 per night, meanwhile, a hostel in the city is €25 per person, per night. Therefore if you’re a couple a hotel is likely to be the better value for money option.
Unlike Venice, all of the attractions in Verona are within walking distance and therefore you should be able to save significantly on transport costs. Public transport is also available from the major train station and airport.
While there aren’t as many food options in Verona when compared to Venice the cost of eating out in an independent restaurant is noticeably cheaper. Meanwhile, supermarkets and mainstream fast food prices are much the same.
Entry into major sights and taking part in activities in Verona is noticeably cheaper when compared to Venice. The most we paid for anyone entrance or attraction in Verona was €10 per person when we visited the Verona Arena.
However, much like in Venice you can pick up a city pass that will save you significant money when visiting multiple attractions in the city.
Based on our experience a basic three-night break in Verona for two (accommodation, travel, food and attractions) is likely going to cost somewhere in the region of €300.
If you’re travelling solo you can expect the price to be around €200 and as a family, the cost is likely going to be nearer €550. Of course, these prices could significantly increase depending on the level of luxury you’re looking for in your trip.