Clash of the Italian Icons: Rome vs Venice

Clash of the Italian Icons: Rome vs Venice

Italy is one of those countries that has such a never-ending stream of bucket-list destinations that organising a holiday can feel a little overwhelming. Lakeside lounging in Como? Wining in Tuscany? Beach-hopping on the Amalfi Coast? All are very appealing options, so the decision can be tough. But when it comes to a city-break, for most travellers it normally comes down to the two Goliaths of cultural hubs: Rome vs Venice. Crowning a champion out of the two is certainly not one for the faint-hearted (and something we could never do), but they do have their differences, which can help you make your decision. The capital, Rome, is big and cosmopolitan, with a blend of neighbourhoods that speak to both its ancient beginnings and contemporary present. Venice, in turn, is small and scenic, with local traditions infused into every aspect of its being. Keep reading to find out how each city can cater to you.


For Beautiful Scenery… Venice

Floating terracotta townhouses in place of skyscrapers; winding teal waterways in place of noisy roads: Venice really is a city like no other. Couple this with its marble frescoed palaces and piercing bell towers and domes and it becomes easy to see why the ‘Floating City’ is consistently ranked among the most beautiful destinations in Europe. One of our top local guides can open the doors of this grand city, taking you, by gondola or on foot, to scenic corners that the average tourist won’t come across. We can arrange for you to immortalise your trip in style by exploring this photogenic city with a professional photographer who knows Venice by heart. Snap shots of the reflection of pristine properties in the glassy canals, the gentle bustle of life at St. Mark’s Square and the flurry of gondolas in the port.

Discover our list of must-sees in Venice.


For Historic Sightseeing… Rome

Beyond the Rome vs Venice battle, the ‘Eternal City’ might just win a face-off against the entire world when it comes to historical sightseeing. The dizzying amount of world-famous sites pay homage to the eternal feeling of Rome, from 28 centuries ago until today. There’s the Colosseum (one of the Seven Wonders of the World), which hosted gladiatorial combats during Ancient Rome; the Vatican City, the spiritual centre of the Catholic Church and the permanent residence of the Pope; and the Sistine Chapel, which showcases some of the finest Renaissance Art you can lay your eyes on, including Michelangelo’s ceiling mural. We can arrange for you to enjoy private guided tours of Rome’s must sees and historical treasures with one of our experienced local guides, who is armed with everything from priority passes to special activities for kids.


For Traditional Culture… Venice 

From iconic gondolas rides to artisanal glass-making, Venice is one of those cities that breathes tradition into every aspect of its being. If you go out for coffee, it’s Venetian style (coffee with samba and whipped cream); if you go shopping, it's for Venetian souvenirs (carnival masks, glassware and leather goods); and if you go out exploring, it’s done the age-old Venetian way (by gondola or on foot). You get the idea: the local culture is the only one that matters. Become an expert in the traditional way of life here by taking part in some of our favourite experiences, such as a Murano glass-making class with in an authentic workshop or an evening gondola adventure alongside a local guide.


For a More Contemporary Feel… Rome

Rome is easily still one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, with its low-rise, terracotta skyline punctuated by opulent historic sites; but it is also one of its most vibrant and diverse, striking an enviable balance between old and new. This is reflected nowhere more so than its dizzying mixture of neighbourhoods. Beyond the ancient feel of the Centro Storico (historic centre) and Tridente, there’s buzzing nightlife in Trastevere and Parione, fusion culinary craftsmanship in Prati and Centocelle and countercultural street art in Ostiense. Our guides on the ground can help to tailor a tour of the city that takes in the top sites, as well as the diversity displayed in Rome’s less touristy neighbourhoods.


For Food… Both!

It’s next to impossible to crown a culinary champion in the Rome vs Venice battle, as both cities are a treasure trove of italian gastronomic delights. You might have gathered by now that the Venetians like to do things their way (or the waterway?), and that applies to its foodie scene as well. You’ll come across lots of bacaros (wine bars) serving plentiful cicchetti (Venetian-style tapas). This is a great way to sample a range of local delicacies, which can range from bruschetta and baked goods to fried meatballs and fresh seafood. Dining in Rome is a little more diverse, with a delightful mixture of fine-dining, traditional fare and classic by-the-slice joints in almost every neighbourhood. But no matter whether you land your feet in Rome or Venice, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll have access to our coveted Dossier, which is filled with our tried-and-tested picks for wining and dining, as well as our clued-up local Concierge, who can book you a table wherever you fancy and generally be on hand to help throughout your trip.