Padua, Vicenza and Verona are prosperous, attractive towns with much to offer the visitor so it is surprising that they are not very strong in hotels. There are plenty of quite ordinary ones. They fill very easily during trade fairs, of which there are many. Vicenza, for example, holds three very large jewellery fairs every year and you would do well to check on the town’s website and avoid them. Padua hosts an international cat show, a bridal show and a large biannual horticultural show. And during the season (mid-June to early September) countless opera lovers crowd into Verona for the performances in its vast Arena. Then prices go up and standards come down. It is easy to fill the rooms and perhaps this has made hoteliers complacent. Too many offer a dull room with reproduction furniture and heavy damasks, approached through public rooms of no distinction.
Outside the towns it is another matter. The region is well off for attractive luxury hotels with spas and fine restaurants. We think the best ones are the family-owned ones where one or two individuals take a personal interest in the guests and have invested in a much-loved estate. The food in several of them is outstanding and wine-lovers will find that the standard - particularly of Prosecco, the best of which never leaves Italy and has little in common with the poor man’s champagne found in England - is very high indeed. Several hotels arrange tastings and visits to winemakers in their locality.
The drawback of these attractive places is, of course, that they can be expensive and if you want to explore, you will need a car. You will notice that the villas of Palladio, particularly associated with Vicenza, are actually spread across the region and one of the finest of them, the Villa Barbaro at Maser, is much nearer Asolo and Follina. It pays to be attentive to the map. For example, an art lover who wants to see Giotto’s wonderful murals in the Scrovegni chapel might do better to stay in Venice and make the short trip by rail - its quick, cheap and easy - rather than staying in Padua.
60 million tourists come to the Veneto every year; it is the most visited part of Italy. Most go to Venice, but those who visit the hinterland will find much to delight them; great music, important paintings, fine wines, the villas built for rich Venetian clients who recognised the point of the terra firma, the rural calm away from the busy canals and squares. You will enjoy it as much as they did.
A very luxurious hotel that has almost made a religion out of wellbeing. A world-class spa and a kitchen operating under a chef named the ‘the Father of Modern Italian Cuisine’. A spa and gourmet break off the beaten track.
Family pride rather than corporate greed are what drives the standards up in this attractive luxury manor house. Beautiful interiors that combine original stone facades, wooden beams, and elegant furniture. Outstanding food and private reception facilities for weddings.
Welcoming country comfort for gourmets and oenophiles. Two restaurants with Michelin stars and extensive wine lists. Beautiful and elegantly decorated rooms, and a family annexe, painted in creams and pastel colours. A wonderful spot for exploring.
A wonderfully romantic setting with views over the valley that can be enjoyed over breakfast. This Renaissance villa mixes nature, art, and history with its perfumed garden, celestial views, elegant interiors, antiques, and its heritage. A magnificent spot for romantics.
A small hotel where modern Romeos take their Juliets. Individually themed rooms decorated with elegant romance - antique rugs, magnificent drapes, candles, art objects, private balconies overlooking the courtyard.
Unpretentious, well-run, comfortable hotel with outstanding views. Old-fashioned but absolutely charming. Ideal for families and those looking for a low key country escape.
An ideal location and pleasant (if slightly dated) rooms have won the Accademia many friends. Beautiful sand stone building with romantic pale green shutters. Large elegant rooms provide comfort. An ideal spot to explore Verona for pleasure or while on business.
Akin to staying in a luxury antique shop surrounded by silverware, fine china and highly polished furniture, but deeply relaxing and rather grand. An opulent romantic destination.