Mestre is a town and mainland suburb of the city of Venice. Mestre is actually the largest town in Italy not to have the designation of commune, as does Venice. Rather, Mestre is what is known as a frazione, or smaller division of a commune. This quaint town is located to the northwest of Venice. The other small mainland fraziones such as Marghera, Chirignago, Zelarino, and Favaro Veneto contribute to the overall population of the commune of Venice. If you are renting a car from the airport and planning to head to Venice, you will most likely be parking it at one of the lots provided in Mestre before entering the city of Venice, where no cars are allowed.

Mestre Italy holidays are popular as this is the perfect jump-off point for travel through much of northern Italy, including Venice and Milan. There are a wide variety of Mestre attractions as well for those individuals who plan to spend a good portion of their time in this town. Many of the Mestre attractions are historical sites and landmarks like churches and statues, but there are also a good selection of things to do in Mestre, including dining, shopping, and entertainment.

The Cathedral of St. Lawrence is one of the most popular Mestre attractions. In a country that is widely known for its vast number of breathtaking and awe-inspiring cathedrals, this is one of the most beautiful in northern Italy. It does not cost a thing to tour this impressive seventeenth-century cathedral, so if you are already planning to be in this town, whether passing through to Venice or staying on for a longer period of time, you should consider placing the Cathedral of St. Lawrence near the top of your list of Mestre attractions to see.

The Torre dell’Orologio is perhaps the most iconic of all the buildings in Mestre. It is an old watchtower that dates back to the year 1108. There are tours available of the watchtower that shed some light on the enigmatic history of Mestre, whose origins are historically unknown. Legend claims that the town was founded by Mesthles, a companion of the Trojan prince Antenor.

Another of the must-see Mestre attractions is the Orto Botanico Locatelli. It is a beautiful park and botanical garden that is open to the public for free from summer to early autumn. You can leisurely walk through the acres of botanical gardens and learn about the manifold species of medicinal plants that are grown on the grounds. This is a nice diversion from the pace of city life if your vacation has been spent doing a lot of shopping and sightseeing. For a nice and relaxing day in the park, you should pay a visit to the calming Orto Botanico Locatelli.

There are also plenty of contemporary restaurants, bars, and accommodations for those looking to stay in Mestre. You will notice as you make plans for your Mestre Italy holidays, that if you are traveling back and forth to Venice, you will become familiar with the Mestre train station, comprised of various rails and road bridges. The bridge between Mestre and Venice is called Ponte della Liberta, or Freedom Bridge. Since Venice is the largest car-free urban area in Europe, you will be leaving most anything with wheels behind for the return trip.

Top image: n_willsey (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
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