Veneto, as part of the Republic of Venice, had been an independent state for more than a millennium. The Republic was dissolved by Napoleon and ceded to the Austrian Empire, until it joined Italy in 1866. Venice ruled for centuries over one of the largest and richest maritime republics and trade empires in the world.
Once the heartland of the Venetian Republic, Veneto is today among the wealthiest, most developed and industrialized regions of Italy. Having some of the country’s richest historical, natural, artistic, cultural, musical and culinary heritages, it is also a mecca for tourism, with about 60 million visitors every year.
Padua was the main Venetian cradle of the Renaissance, which helped the movement develop and thrive. Amongst the Renaissance artists who worked there were Donatello, and Pisanello. Famous Venetian artists also include Giorgione, Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo and Lorenzo Lotto
Venetian cuisine has a centuries-long history and is significantly different from the other cuisines of Northern Italy. It’s often divided into three main categories, based on geography: the coastal areas, the plains, and the mountains, each one containing many local cuisines, with each city boasting its own specialties.
The most common dish is polenta, which is cooked in various ways throughout Veneto. Codfish is the most representative of true Venetian cuisine served as Baccalà Mantecato, a traditional dish cooked in olive oil, garlic, and parsley and then creamed in a blender. Coastal areas serve mainly seafood dishes.
In the plains, it is very popular to serve grilled meat together with polenta, potatoes or vegetables. Risotto, rice cooked with many different kinds of food, from vegetables, mushrooms, pumpkin or radicchio to seafood, pork meat or chicken livers, is also very popular. Bigoli (a typical Venetian fresh pasta, similar to a thicker kind of spaghetti), fettuccine (hand-made noodles), ravioli and the similar tortelli (filled with meat, cheese, vegetables or pumpkin) and gnocchi (potatoes-made pasta), are fresh and often hand made of eggs and wheat flour. Among the typical seasoning of Venetian cuisine are butter, olive oil, sunflower oil, vinegar, kren, senape, mostarda, and salsa verde. It is also believed that Tiramisu, an Italian classic, originated in Veneto.
Veneto is popularly known as a wine producing region. Some important wineries include the Cantina de Vino già Schiavi in el Ponte of San Trovaso and Do Mori in Rialto.