By Meredith Pollock, MA 2015-16
Up next on our tour of Italian geography is Veneto, home to approximately five million inhabitants. The capital and largest city of the region is Venice, and much of its geography is determined by the presence of the River Po. The Alps also extend into Veneto, making it a region of significant geographic variation.
Until the 5th century Veneto was part of the Roman Empire, and afterwards was part of the Republic of Venice until 1797. The Republic ruled over one of the most prolific and wealthy maritime empires in the world. After the Congress of Vienna from 1814 to 1815, Veneto became part of Austria-Hungary until 1866 when it became part of reunified Italy.
The River Po, the longest river in Italy, runs through the region and empties south of Venice into the Adriatic Sea. More than half of the region is geographically part of the Po Valley. The part of the valley that lies in Veneto is particularly well-suited for agriculture, and the region still produces a great deal of vegetables, cherries, apples, tobacco, and grapes for wine.
About a third of the region is mountainous and consists of parts of the Alps and Dolomites. The tallest mountain in Veneto is Marmolada-massif at 10,965 feet tall. The Dolomite mountain range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its physical importance to the culture of humanity.
Although Veneto is not known for its geographic beauty, it is still a worthwhile destination in a tour of Italy. Most of the tourism centers around Venice, which is only three hours away from Florence.