Venice is one of our favorite Italian cities. The pretty canals lined with Renaissance and Gothic Palaces has drawn tourists from all over the world. Venice located in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea comprises of over 100 islands connected by numerous beautiful bridges. It is a magical place and you will need a few days to cover the best of what the ‘city of canals’ has to offer. We have visited Venice twice, the first time on a day trip from Verona on a road trip when we didn’t do much in the city. The second time we spent 2 days in Venice and even explored the other islands in the lagoon. If you are based in Venice there are many amazing places which are easy day trips from Venice. Here are the best ones you should not miss when in Venice.
Burano – Best Day Trips from Venice (~45 Minutes)
Burano is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon known for the bright candy-colored houses. Burano Island is located north of Venice in Italy about 45 min by boat. A Day Trip from Venice to Burano is unmissable if you have a few days in Venice. Tourists usually combine Burano, Murano, and Torcello in a single day trip from Venice. But the colorful island definitely deserves one full day. One of the best things to do in Burano is to just wander the alleys winding through the colorful houses decorated with colorful flowers.
During ancient times when fishing was the major activity on the island, the houses were painted in various bright colors which made it easy for them to recognize their house from distant.
Another popular activity to do in Burano is to stop for some amazing lace works. Burano is known for traditional needle lace-making art.
Torcello, the oldest lagoon island is very small you can combine Burano with Torcello if you have some time.
Murano (~20 Minutes)
A Day trip from Venice to Murano is another popular tour not to miss a trip if you have a few days in Venice. Murano is home to numerous glass making factories and is popularly known as the glass-making island. Some of these glass making factories demonstrate the glass artworks with the traditional blowing method called ‘Massello’. The visitors can watch the demo for a small fee. Later you can also shop for a variety of stunning and colorful glass artworks and handicrafts from the shop.
There is also a glass museum housed in a Gothic style palace which displays numerous antique glass items and information on history and evolvement of Venetian glassmaking. Read more here. Similar to the houses of Burano the houses of Murano are also painted in a myriad of bright shades of red, orange and yellow. The windows bedecked with cascades of colorful flowers.
Other attractions not to miss in Murano are 19th Century clock tower, the 16th century Chiesa di San Pietro Martire Church and 12th-century Basilica Dei Santi Maria e Donato. And like Burano, you can easily combine Murano with Torcello which is a tiny island on the Venetian Lagoon.
Florence (~2 Hour 10 Minutes)
Florence is one of our favorite cities in Europe. The city is home to some of the magnificent Renaissance architectural masterpieces. Your first stop on Florence city sightseeing should be the Piazza della Signoria, a popular square surrounded by important buildings including Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Uguccioni, Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia della Signoria, an open loggia decorated with numerous sculptures.
While Palazzo Vecchio displays a wonderful collection of sculptures, frescoes, and elaborate artworks, the Uffizi Gallery is one of the prominent art museums displaying a work of art from the Italian Renaissance era. If you decide to visit either of them or both depending on how you want to spend your day in Florence.
Another must visit attraction in Florence is the magnificent Florence Cathedral. The 13th-century cathedral complex consists of the Baptistery, the basilica, and its Campanile.
Other attractions you should visit if time permits are the Basilica di Santa Croce, Ponte Vecchio for Sunset and Piazza della Repubblica for shopping. If you are in Florence for a couple of days then here is an itinerary for things to do in Florence in 2 days.
Verona (~1 Hour 30 Minutes)
During our Geneva to Italy road trip, we drove to Verona and did a day trip from Verona to Venice. If you are based in Venice, Venice to Verona is definitely an easy day trip with a good frequency of connecting trains which takes around an hour and a half.
About 10 minutes bus ride from the station is the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheater which could hold 30000 spectators. Today is a popular venue for opera performances and other events.
One of the most popular draws for tourists visiting Verona is ‘Juliet’s Balcony’ which is part of the 14th-century Gothic style Juliet’s House. There is a small museum displaying artifacts from the era of Romeo Juliet. Juliet’s House is about 15 minutes bus ride from the Verona train station. Do note it could be extremely crowded at times.
A couple of minutes walk from Juliet’s house is the Piazza Delle Erbe. The square is home to Torre Dei Lamberti which can be climbed for amazing views of the city of Verona. Further ahead is the Duomo di Verona or Cathedral of Verona is a 12th century Romanesque Church and a popular Verona landmark.
Also not to miss when in Verona are Corso Porta Borsari, the ancient Roman Gates and Castelvecchio, a 14th-century castle housing a museum displaying a wonderful collection consisting of ancient sculpture, statues, and paintings.
Trieste (~2 Hours)
One of the popular day trips from Venice is Trieste, a port city set along the Adriatic coast. There is a good frequency of trains connecting Venice with Trieste with an average travel time of little more than 2 hours.
Take a leisurely walk around the historic Old Town of the city and its winding cobblestone alleys lined with medieval buildings. The Old Town was once center of the ancient Roman city and home to archaeological sites and numerous historic churches. The prominent landmark in the historic center is the 14th-century Cathedral of San Giusto. Visit the Castle of Saint Giusto 5 minutes walk from the cathedral which houses a weapons museum and numerous historical inscriptions. The terrace and ramparts offer remarkable views of the town of Trieste and the and the Gulf of Trieste.
Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia is the main square in Trieste surrounded by important architectural buildings. If time permits take a boat along the Grand Canal or walk along the promenade in Barcola the beautiful neighborhood of Trieste and enjoy the spectacular sunset views.