Read on to Drive to Discover the adventures that await you in Italy!
The first Venice UNESCO site on the list is the city itself. The entire city (originally founded in the 5th century), is a masterpiece of architecture, art, and culture, offering visitors who tour its storied canals and lagoon the ultimate romantic destination. While you can’t drive a rental car in Venice, we encourage you to book a ride on one of the city’s famous gondolas during your stay, before renting a car in Venice for the balance of your trip.
After your tour of Bologna, drive west on E45 – a short, beautiful ~25-mile drive to the Province of Modena. In the center of Modena you’ll find the 12th-century Cathedral, Torre Civica, a Romanesque UNESCO site which welcomes visitors with a sprawling piazza and impressive tower, piercing the city skyline.
The UNESCO committee deemed the Cathedral Torre Civica “a masterpiece of human creative genius in which a new dialectical relationship between architecture and sculpture was created in Romanesque art.” Whether you are religious or not, you’re sure to marvel at this impressive structure, and exploring the Piazza and Modena will also be fun.
After leaving Modena by rental car, you will drive north on A22 until you arrive in the city of Mantua, Italy. Nestled in the Po river valley, Mantua and Sabbioneta are jointly declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the unique ways each city speaks to the evolution and history of the Italian city.
While both cities are worth exploring if you have limited time we recommend spending it in Mantua – a city with a layout which speaks to the way historic Italian cities expanded and renewed themselves through the years. Mantua offers visitors a glimpse of an evolving city, with irregular portions that offer a glimpse of 15th and 16th-century renovations standing out in contrast to its formative structures which date to the Roman Empire. The Baroque theater in Mantua is an excellent example of this growth and expansion during the renaissance.
The next UNESCO site on our round-trip Venice road trip is just a 40-minute drive to the North and East. The City of Verona is a stunning example of an Italian military stronghold, and within this beautiful city, you’ll discover an impressive number of well-preserved monuments, art pieces, and landmarks which date to the medieval and Renaissance periods.
Nestled at the foot of the Lessini Mountains, Verona was founded on the banks of the River Adige and has been occupied by numerous ruling cultures and factions since it was first developed as a settlement between the fourth and third centuries BCE. While the city’s history is diverse, Roman history buffs will be in paradise here, as this northern city contains some of the best-preserved relics and antiquities from that period. Make time to visit Porta Borsari, the city gate, and the Amphitheatre Arena among other famous Verona landmarks.
While the City of Vicenza is the central UNESCO landmark on your final stop, we encourage you to turn north from Vicenza and travel to Villa Godi. The Palladian Villas of the Veneto region are the work of Andrea Palladio, and are a study in classical Roman architecture, considered some of the most striking and historic villas in the entire Veneto region. In fact, Palladio’s work was so renowned that it inspired its own unique architectural style – a variation on typical Roman architecture known as “Palladian,” which has spread throughout Europe and all the way to North America.
Villa Godi, a patrician villa located in Lugo di Vicenza. We think you’ll love your visit at Villa Godi because it gets you out of the city, offering expansive, well-kept gardens which are open to the public each afternoon, year-round. Be sure to take in the elaborate frescoes on the villa’s interior, as well as the preserved artifacts and fossils in the basement.
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