If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent countless hours sitting at work daydreaming about your next Italian adventure. Italy has a way of capturing the hearts of wanderers, and with its rich history, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes, it’s easy to see why. But should you priorities visiting Rome or Venice?
Today, I want to dive into a friendly and honest comparison between two of Italy’s most iconic cities: Rome and Venice.
Having had the incredible privilege of exploring Italy, I’m excited to share my personal insights and experiences with you.
Whether you’re planning your first trip to Italy or looking to return for another dose of la dolce vita, join me as we break down the charms and quirks of Rome and Venice, helping you decide which one deserves a spot on your itinerary.
So, grab your espresso and let’s embark on this journey of discovery together!
DO YOU HAVE THESE ITEMS FOR YOUR TRIP?
✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner
➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on Discovercars
✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads
➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com
✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours
Rome Or Venice: Which Italian City Is Better?
So, you’re planning a trip to Italy and facing the typical traveller dilemma: Rome or Venice?
Both cities offer a blend of history, culture, and delicious food, but they each have their unique character and charm. The eternal question remains: which one is better?
Key Differences Between Rome And Venice
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, it’s essential to understand the fundamental differences between Rome and Venice. These distinctions will lay the groundwork for our exploration of various aspects, from architecture and history to food and atmosphere.
Rome, often referred to as the “Eternal City,” is a bustling city jam-packed with history. It’s a city that effortlessly marries the ancient with the modern, where you can wander through the ruins of the Roman Forum in the morning and savor an Italian espresso in a modern cafe in the afternoon.
Venice, on the other hand, is a city like no other, with its picturesque canals, historic palaces, and romantic atmosphere. Known as the “Floating City,” Venice’s unique geography and architecture make it a destination for those seeking a more intimate and tranquil experience.
As we delve deeper into the specifics, we’ll explore these key differences and more, helping you decide whether Rome or Venice is your travel dream.
Geography & Landscape
Rome sprawls out like a history lover’s playground. It’s a big city, covering almost 500 square miles.
You’ve got the famous seven hills, the ancient ruins around every corner, and the Tiber River running through it.
Summers are hot and dry, winters are mild, and it’s all set against that classic Mediterranean backdrop.
Now, Venice, on the other hand, is a whole different kind of beauty.
Forget about sprawling because Venice is a collection of islands connected by charming canals.
It’s like a watery labyrinth covering a cozy 160 square miles.
Summers are hot and humid, winters are cool and damp.
You’ll be navigating narrow streets and canals instead of Roman hills here.
Alright, let’s talk euros and cents.
Rome can dip into your wallet a bit, especially if you want a swanky or authentic ancient hotel.
But hey, there’s something for everyone.
You can munch on affordable street food like pizza and supplì, or go all out at a fancy restaurant.
Shopping varies – you can find both budget-friendly and designer options.
In general, though Rome tends to be slightly more budget-friendly compared to Venice so if you’re on a super tight budget I’d go for Rome.
Venice, Venice, why you gotta be so fancy?
Well, blame it on the uniqueness of the place.
Accommodation can be on the pricier side, and dining, especially near those canals, can make your wallet cry a little.
Souvenir shopping can also lean toward the expensive side, but the Venetian glassware and masks are pretty tempting.
When in Rome, eat like the Romans do!
Pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe – these are the pasta classics.
But don’t stop there.
Rome’s got fantastic pizza and delicious street food like supplì (imagine cheesy rice balls) and pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice).
From down-to-earth trattorias to Michelin-starred wonders, you’ve got options.
Or if you want to take it that one step further, why not book a Pasta cooking class to not only eat delicious Italian food but learn how to replicate it back home?
Venetian cuisine gets a big thumbs-up for seafood.
Think risotto al nero di seppia (that’s black squid ink risotto) and sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines).
Venice is also famous for cicchetti, those delightful little snacks, and you can’t leave without trying a spritz cocktail in one of their cozy wine bars.
History & Architecture
Rome is like a history book you can walk through.
You’ve got the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, and that’s just the tip of the ancient iceberg.
But it’s not just about the past – Renaissance palaces, Baroque churches, and a mix of architectural wonders take you on a journey through the ages.
Venice has its own special kind of magic.
With St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge, it’s like stepping into a fairytale.
The city’s Gothic influences are etched in its architecture. Plus, the whole “city on water” thing only adds a unique twist to its charm.
You can go from exploring ancient ruins to getting lost in charming neighborhoods.
Sip espresso in historic cafes, people-watch in lively piazzas, and when the sun sets, the nightlife comes alive with everything from traditional wine bars to trendy clubs.
Venice, on the other hand, is a bit more laid-back.
You can’t rush through it.
Take leisurely gondola rides, explore Murano for glassblowing or Burano for lace-making.
The city’s art scene is top-notch, with places like the Gallerie dell’Accademia showcasing some real masterpieces. It’s a place to soak up and savor slowly.
More on the best activities to do in Rome or Venice up next!
Rome: Best Things To Do
Now we are going to explore the best things to do in Rome from pasta making to museum hopping.
Are you ready to embark on a mouthwatering culinary journey in the heart of Rome?
This Pasta and Tiramisu Lovers Workshop in the Heart of Rome is an unforgettable experience that lets you dive headfirst into the world of Italian cuisine.
This workshop offers a hands-on opportunity in a charming kitchen to craft two iconic dishes: homemade fettuccine pasta and tiramisu for dessert.
First, you’ll roll up your sleeves and learn the art of crafting perfect fettuccine pasta from scratch.
You’ll mix, knead, and roll out the dough, creating silky ribbons of pasta to later pair with your sauce of choice (tomato and basil, Amatriciana or Cacio e Pepe)
Next up, you’ll delve into the world of tiramisu, Italy’s famous dessert.
Discover the perfect balance of flavors as you layer coffee-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa powder to create a heavenly tiramisu.
Ready to book your spot?
Explore the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill hassle-free with this expert-guided tour. Skip the lines as you enter the Colosseum through a dedicated group entrance.
Walk in the footsteps of gladiators and discover its history from your guide’s perspective.
Continue your journey through the Roman Forum, exploring ancient government buildings and the bustling Forum Magnum marketplace.
Climb Palatine Hill for stunning views of the Circus Maximus. Your expert guide, along with comfortable headsets, ensures you won’t miss a detail.
This tour includes entry tickets to all three sites and expert guidance. Please note that it doesn’t cover food, tips, or access to the Colosseum’s arena and underground areas.
Get ready for an incredible adventure through Rome’s historic district on a private golf cart tour. Hop aboard a comfy, covered, street-legal golf cart and roam the city streets at your leisure.
The best part?
You get to design your own itinerary based on what interests you the most.
This fun-filled sightseeing tour is perfect for the whole family or groups of friends, offering a lively narration as you explore the iconic palaces, monuments, churches, fountains, and statues that make Rome so enchanting.
Keep in mind that not all the awesome spots in Rome can be visited in one go, but don’t worry – you can handpick your top favorites, like the legendary Colosseum.
You even have the freedom to choose the route that takes you to the sights you’re dying to see. Plus, you will get picked up and dropped off from your centrally located Rome hotel.
Take a guided street food adventure through Rome’s vibrant neighborhoods. Choose between Trastevere or the Jewish Quarter and indulge in iconic street delicacies like supplì, pizza, and more.
With an expert guide, you’ll delve into the city’s rich history through its beloved street food.
In Trastevere, meet on Tiber Island, explore lively squares, and savor cheesy supplì and Sicilian cannoli. If you opt for the Jewish Quarter, start at Campo De’ Fiori square, then discover historic sites like the Portico of Octavia and the Turtle Fountain.
Enjoy five tastings, complemented by wine and beer samples. And, of course, end your foodie journey on a sweet note with authentic Italian gelato.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE!
Venice: Best Things To Do
Let’s now dive into the best things to do in Venice, from food tours to gondola rides.
Get ready for a foodie adventure with 8 awesome stops that’ll keep you fueled all day. We’re talking so much food you won’t need breakfast or dinner!
Kickstart your day like a true Italian with a coffee fix. Then, brace yourself for a sugar rush with heavenly Venetian pastries, a tradition that goes way back.
Hit up cool wine bars for some typical Venetian drinks and those famous cicchetti bites. Seafood lovers, you’re in for a treat with 5-6 different fish dishes, and we won’t leave out the mouthwatering local cured meats.
Venture into the city’s secret spots, visit the oldest bar, and find out where famous lovers hang out while savoring their favorite dish.
You’ll finish with legit Venetian gelato, and your guide will spill the beans on how to spot top-notch gelato shops, even in touristy areas.
Uncover the rich history of Venice by visiting two iconic landmarks: St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, available as either a private or shared group experience.
Immerse yourself in the captivating tale of Venice, once the bustling mercantile capital of the Mediterranean.
Begin your adventure with a stroll through St. Mark’s Square alongside a knowledgeable guide. As you enter the cathedral, head to the first-floor terrace for panoramic views of the lagoon and an up-close encounter with the famous bronze horses.
Next, enjoy priority access to the illustrious Doge’s Palace, the former residence of Venice’s Republic leader. Soak in the architectural wonders of this palace, including the Chamber of the Great Council and historic courtrooms adorned with Tintoretto’s frescoes. Don’t miss the Giants’ Staircase.
Your journey continues as you cross the famous Bridge of Sighs, connecting to the New Prisons. Learn the intriguing story behind the bridge’s name and its 17th-century construction purpose, all while taking in views of Venice’s canals.
First time in Venice? This is the perfect plan to make your day unforgettable. This full-day itinerary covers all the must-see spots.
Start by casually strolling across the iconic Rialto Bridge, and while you’re at it, soak in the lively vibes of the Rialto fish market.
Then, get ready for some romance as you hop on a traditional gondola for a dreamy cruise along the majestic Grand Canal.
But that’s not all! You’ll also visit the impressive St. Mark’s Basilica and skip the lines to enter the grand Doge’s Palace.
Highlights of the day include wandering through Venice’s vibrant neighborhoods, checking out the bustling Rialto markets, and gliding along the picturesque Grand Canal on your gondola ride.
And let’s not forget the deep dive into history and stunning architecture at the Doge’s Palace.
Ready to dive into the world of Italian craftsmanship?
Consider taking a day trip from Venice to the charming islands of Murano and Burano.
In Murano, you’ll witness the mesmerizing art of glassblowing, passed down through centuries. Over in Burano, you’ll be amazed by the delicate stitches of their famous lace. Plus, you have the freedom to explore the Burano Lace Museum at your own pace.
And don’t worry, a guide will sprinkle in some island history as you visit local workshops and wander the quaint streets.
Hop between these islands in style, thanks to a private boat.
Getting From Rome To Venice
Getting from Rome to Venice is a breeze with multiple transportation options if it’s just too tricky to choose between the two!
➡️ Rome to Venice by Train
If you’re up for a relaxed journey with some lovely Italian scenery, taking the train is the way to go.
It’s like a mini-adventure in itself!
The high-speed trains zip you from Rome to Venice in around 3 to 4 hours.
Just hop on at Rome’s main train stations, like Roma Termini, and get off at Venice’s Santa Lucia station, right in the heart of the city.
Plus, you get comfy seats, no airport fuss, and a chance to chill while watching Italy go by outside your window.
➡️ Rome to Venice by Air
Now, flying might seem like a shortcut, but it’s not always as speedy as you’d think.
The flight itself takes about an hour, but by the time you factor in the airport hustle, security checks, and potential delays, it can be just as long as the train ride.
Here’s the kicker: Venice’s main airport, Marco Polo Airport, isn’t actually on the island; it’s on the mainland.
So, once you land, you’ll still need to figure out how to get to the city center.
That adds extra time and cost.
Long story short, while flying might sound glamorous, for most travelers, the train is the smoother and more eco-friendly way to get from Rome to Venice.
Accommodation in Rome and Venice
Wondering what your stays in either Rome or Venice will be like?
Here are my recommended stays!
Where to stay in Rome
These are my two recommended budget to mid-range accommodation options in Rome.
⭐ 8.9/10 (394 reviews)
Located right in the heart of Rome, Sweet Dreams Roma is where comfort, convenience, and good old Roman charm come together.
This cute boutique bed and breakfast is your cozy hideaway in the historic city center. Step inside, and you’ll feel the mix of modern style and classic Italian vibes.
And guess what? You’re super close to some of Rome’s big hitters like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the hip streets of Monti where you can grab some delicous Italian food and shop your heart out.
And for you solo travelers, here’s the sweet deal: it won’t break the bank to stay here, and you get all the perks of a secure spot in a killer location.
And when you wake up, they’ll treat you to a hearty Italian breakfast with a view of Rome’s iconic rooftops. Can you say ‘bellissimo’?
Palazzo Baj in Trastevere – Excellent for Couples
⭐ 8.9/10 (194 reviews)
In a great, safe spot in Rome, Palazzo Baj is the perfect mix of timeless class and the lively vibe of one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods.
When you step inside, it’s like going back in time to a place of fancy, old-school charm. They’ve really gone all out to make sure the place feels as swanky as its rich history.
But it’s not just about the hotel; it’s about the ‘hood too. Trastevere’s got these charming streets, bustling squares, and a vibe that’s just so real.
And the best part? You’re smack in the middle of everything. You can soak up the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere’s beauty, chow down at local trattorias, and hit up trendy boutiques. It’s like living the Roman dream!
When the sun dips down, Trastevere’s nightlife lights up.
Every morning, they’ll serve you up a hearty Italian breakfast, made with love and all that jazz.
For more accommodation options in Rome, check out my guide to th 12 Safest Places To Stay In Rome: Top Hotels & Neighbourhoods
Where to stay in Venice
Next up we have my recommended stays in Venice, including mid-range hotels that offer exceptional value.
⭐ 9.3/10 (2,551 reviews)
Let me introduce you to the Rosa Salva Hotel, a piece of Venice’s history located just a 100 meters (to be exact) from the legendary St. Mark’s Square. The rooms are simple but spacious, and each comes with its own private bathroom – a real comfort perk.
Now, let’s talk breakfast. They lay out a tasty buffet spread to kickstart your day. And here’s the cool part: the staff are not just friendly but also like your local buddies.
They’re all about sharing the inside scoop on the best places to eat and drink in Venice. Plus, you’ll stay connected with WiFi that’s available throughout the hotel.
Getting here is a breeze, thanks to the water bus. It makes hopping to and from Santa Lucia Train Station and Piazzale Roma super convenient.
And guess what? Other guests are absolutely smitten with the location.
Couples especially love this mid-range stay, giving it an impressive 9.8 rating for a sweet, romantic escape.
⭐ 9.4/10 (473 reviews)
Located right in the heart of Venice, Palazzo Keller is your go-to spot for a comfy stay at a very reasonable price.
And here’s the icing on the cake: they’ve got a bar and room service at your beck and call. Need something at 2 a.m.? No problem – they’ve got a 24-hour front desk to make sure you’re sorted.
Now, let’s talk about the good stuff nearby. You’re just a short 400 meters away from the famous La Fenice Theatre. Plus, the rooms here are pretty swanky – you’ve got a kettle for that morning caffeine kick, a private bathroom with all the free toiletries you need, and even a hairdryer (because, of course).
And wake up to a scrumptious continental breakfast included in the room price.
And when it’s time to explore, you’re in luck. Palazzo Keller is just a stone’s throw from the famous Piazza San Marco, the iconic Rialto Bridge, and the stunning Basilica San Marco.
Rome Vs Venice: FAQs
Moving onto some commonly asked questions to help you choose between Rome or Venice.
Is it cheaper to go to Venice or Rome?
In general, Rome tends to be slightly more budget-friendly compared to Venice.
Accommodation, dining, and shopping can be more expensive in Venice due to its unique setting and high demand from tourists.
However, both cities offer a range of options to suit various budgets, so it’s possible to have an affordable trip in either destination with some smart planning.
Is Venice or Rome more romantic?
Venice is often considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, thanks to its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and charming gondola rides.
The unique atmosphere of Venice, with its narrow streets and stunning sunsets over the water, makes it the winner over Rome in my eyes.
Rome, while not lacking in romance, has a more bustling and historical vibe, making it better suited for those who prefer a mix of history and romance in their travels.
Is Venice more beautiful than Rome?
Both Venice and Rome are incredibly beautiful, but they offer different types of beauty.
Venice has unique and enchanting architecture set against the backdrop of its canals.
Rome, on the other hand, is celebrated for its rich historical and architectural beauty, with iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican City.
Beauty is subjective, so whether one is more beautiful than the other depends on personal preferences.
Personally, I would say Venice trumps Rome on beauty, you just can’t beat the allure of the canals.
Is food better in Venice or Rome?
Both cities offer outstanding Italian cuisine, but they have distinct culinary traditions.
Rome is famous for its hearty dishes like pasta carbonara and cacio e pepe, as well as classic Roman pizzas and street food.
Venice’s cuisine is more seafood-focused, featuring dishes like risotto al nero di seppia (black squid ink risotto) and sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines).
Both cities have their own delicious specialties to savor but I don’t think you can past the traditional Italian classics of Rome!
Conclusion: Rome Or Venice
So there you have it, the eternal showdown: Rome Vs Venice. These two Italian icons offer distinct flavors of Italy, and your choice really depends on your style.
Rome dazzles with its history, art, and bustling city life. It’s like stepping into a time machine with a side of mouthwatering pasta.
Venice, on the other hand, is all about romance and the magic of canals. Picture yourself in a dreamy gondola ride and savoring the best seafood dishes.
But here’s the thing: both these Italian cities are gems.
So why choose?
Maybe it’s not Rome or Venice, but Rome and Venice. After all, the more Italian adventures, the merrier.
So, when in doubt, why not go for the double delight?