Rome or Venice?
Which is the perfect city for your next Italian trip?
Italian cities are extraordinarily rich in historical and artistic heritage, but Rome and Venice are surely on top of the list since they witnessed dozens of important international events throughout the centuries. If you only have a few days to spend in Italy, choosing might be a problem…but not for long! Let’s see their main differences to choose which one is the best for you!
Rome vs Venice. Which one to visit?
Choose Rome if….
- You are interested in Roman Emperors and their achievements
If you want to learn more about ancient times, Roman Emperors, their military and political achievements, and their lifestyle, Rome is the best place in the world! You’ll have the chance to visit some Emperors’ villas (ex: Domus Aurea), to walk inside the place where the epic gladiator fights took place (Colosseum), and to wander around the perfectly preserved ruins of some luxurious baths (Caracalla baths).
- You like visiting churches
Other than the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome has about 900 churches. Each one is rich in artistic masterpieces and decorated in different styles by many famous artists like Michelangelo or Caravaggio, just to name a few. Moreover, the constant flow of pilgrims from all over the world adds a spiritual and cosmopolitan touch to the city.
- You like attending cultural events
Rome offers endless entertaining opportunities and you’ll find a different exhibition, concert, theatrical performance, or conference every day. Just have a look here at Rome, Italy Events & Things To Do | Eventbrite to see what will be on during our stay. The richest calendars are to be found in summer and around Christmas.
- You’ll be traveling in winter
Winter in Rome is generally mild and you’ll have the chance to spend many hours outdoor even in December and January. The only inconvenience might be rain, but some waterproof shoes and a raincoat will be all you need! Rome is one of the best Italian cities to go sightseeing in winter, while you should avoid Northern Italy if you plan to stay long hours outdoor.
- You love pasta
All the main typical dishes are about pasta: amatriciana, carbonara, cacio e pepe and so on!
- It’s your first trip to Italy
Starting from the capital is always a good idea! Rome perfectly mirrors all the facets of the Country: its culture, art, history, food, elegance, mild weather, friendly people, and bubbling atmosphere, but also its many contradictions, traffic, noise, and confusing rules!
- You are on a budget
Rome is way cheaper than Venice and you’ll be able to find cheap but comfortable accommodations and excellent food at small prices if you search well enough. There are also many free events and museums and if you choose to travel in the low season (mainly January and February) you’ll also benefit from the winter sales to go shopping in via del Corso or via Condotti. Venice is definitely upper class and glamorous, so it might not be suitable for young travelers or backpackers.
- You want to experience local nightlife
Rome has vibrant nightlife and each district has its own kind of night people! It’s also an international university city, so you’ll find young people everywhere during the weekend and every night in San Lorenzo. Other great neighborhoods for your night out in Rome are Trastevere, Testaccio, Pigneto, and Campo de Fiori.
- You love urban life
If you like wandering around a large metropolis full of people, shops, restaurants, traffic, and teeming with life 24/7, Rome might become your favorite city in the world! Other than being the cradle of ancient times, it also has an urban, contemporary, and cosmopolitan side that makes it similar to other European capitals.
- You’re planning to spend some time by the sea
The sea is just 30 Km away from the city center and you can get to Ostia or Fregene in just about 40 minutes by car.
- You like being in nature
Rome has many parks and it’s the perfect destination for people who love to combine sightseeing and outdoor activities. Among the most beautiful parks, there are Villa Borghese, Villa Doria Pamphili, and Villa Torlonia. If you’re traveling with your pet, you’ll also find several dedicated areas to let dogs run and play without a leash!
Choose Venice if….
- You’ve always dreamt of a gondola ride
If the picture of a gondola peacefully floating in a canal makes you want to be there, it’s time to make it real! Locals generally think it’s a bit too touristy and king of a cliché, but a gondola ride at sunset is something you shall definitely try once in a lifetime!
- You’ll be traveling in Autumn
The evening fog rising from the lagoon makes Venice even more charming in Autumn! Another highlight of this season? A local experience that not everybody finds pleasant but that’s really typical: Acqua Alta, which is the seasonal flood due to a combination of high tide and winds.
- You’re fascinated by how engineering can dominate the natural elements
Venice is entirely built on the water by means of stilts, dams, quayside, and banks and there is a constant risk of floods. Despite its difficult position, the city has always been flourishing as a maritime and commercial powerhouse having contacts and trades with the Far East since the Middle Ages and being the hometown of many famous artists like painter Tintoretto or writer and adventurer Casanova. Locals have never stopped to find new ways to handle water and the newest system is a row of mobile gates named Mose aiming at isolating Venice whenever water rises up to 3m.
- You love eating fish
Like any other maritime city, Venice offers many fish specialties: creamed codfish, marinated sardines, pasta with squid ink, and fried crab.
- You only have a weekend
Venice can be visited in about 2 to 3 days, while Rome requires at least 4 or 5 days. Of course, if you only have a weekend, you shall skip a couple of museums to focus on the main landmarks.
- You search for some Insta-friendly spots
If you are a photographer, or you simply like to take pictures of everything you see, then Venice is the best option! The canals are perfect both during the day when they are busy with boats, water taxis, and gondolas and during the night with their reddish reflections of the city lights. Other iconic pictures? Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, the pigeons of S. Marco Square, the view from San Marco Tower, and the colorful houses on Burano island.
- You’ll be traveling with your partner
If you’re planning a honeymoon, a St. Valentine’s weekend, or a special occasion like a birthday or an anniversary, choose one of the most romantic cities in the world! Sunset in Venice is something else and there are plenty of cozy and romantic restaurants with views for a special night out.
- You like the islands
There are at least 5 islands that are worth a day trip! Choose Murano to learn more about locally blown glass, Burano to see many colorful houses and a leaning tower, Torcello to enjoy some peace, Poveglia to listen to some horror stories, and Sant’Erasmo to go walking or cycling among farmland and orchards.
- You want to squeeze in a couple of other cities nearby
Verona and Padua are just 1h away from Venice and they are both ideal destinations for a day trip and a lazy stroll in a charming city. Choose Verona to visit the famous House of Juliet and the iconic Arena (you can also spend a night there to attend a show!). Choose Padua if you are more interested in art and visit the Scrovegni Chapel decorate by Giotto and the majestic Basilica of S. Anthony of Padua.
- You are a movie lover
If you want to attend a premiere or if you’re a fan of a Hollywood star, go to Venice in late summer! The Film Festival takes place in the Lido district and it’s the perfect occasion to spot celebrities. You can find all the necessary info about 2021 here at Biennale Cinema 2021.
- You cannot stand traffic and pollution
No cars, no buses, no traffic jams, and no smog… In Venice you can only move around by boat or on foot…you cannot even use a bike in the city center!
What if you want to visit both Rome and Venice?
If you’re planning to stay at least 1 week in Italy, visit both Rome and Venice. They are well connected by high-speed train and the journey takes about 4h30. Of course, you cannot plan a day trip from Rome to Venice because both cities are so rich in landmarks and attractions that you should absolutely plan a few days in each one! Another great idea would be having a stop in Florence, which is halfway between Rome and Venice.