Venice has been a cradle of artistic culture since the 15th century. It is the birthplace of the great artists Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese and the Bellini brothers who developed the famed Venetian painting style.
Venice also produced prominent literary figures, including Marco Polo, Carlo Goldoni, and Giacomo Casanova, and inspired the works of William Shakespeare, Henry James, and Thomas Mann. It is also home to several noted composers, such as Giovani Gabrieli, Giovani Picchi and Antonio Vivaldi.
The city hosts the Venice Biennale, an international exhibition of art, architecture, theatre, film, contemporary dance and contemporary music. The prestigious Venice Film Festival, established in 1932, is also part of the Biennale. But no other event in Venice is as famous as the annual Carnival, known for its elaborate masks and ornate costumes.
The Amalfi Coast does not have as many Renaissance arts or grandiose festivals as Venice, but it is rife with ancient ruins and archaeological sites. Most famous among these are the nearby ruins of the ancient cities of Pompei and Herculaneum, both destroyed by Mount Vesuvius when it erupted in 79 AD.
In Pompei, you will find the lavish House of Faun, the Forum, the temple of Apollo, the Garden of Fugitives, and a brothel that features erotic frescos. The ancient city of Paestum is home to three of the world’s most well-preserved Doric structures, including the temple of Athena, the temple of Hera, and the temple of Neptune, which dates back to 450 BCE.
In contrast to its ancient sites, the Amalfi Coast has a handful of galleries that showcase contemporary art and a few quirky displays. La Caravella Art Gallery in Vietri sul Mare features hand-painted pottery, whilst Positano and Capri have Liquid Art System galleries. And every September, the town of Furore blossoms with colours as artists gather to paint murals.
Again, whilst the Amalfi Coast does have a good cultural offering, Venice is the clear winner when it comes to a legacy of art, history, literature and music.