No-Frills Flights Put the Spotlight on Treviso
Travelers who fly to Venice usually end up at Marco Polo International Airport. Almost every airline that flies to Italy's famous city of canals uses Polo's terminal. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, however. A smaller hub, Treviso-Sant'Angelo Airport, is located in the town of Treviso, which is about 20 miles outside of Venice. Ryanair is the main tenant here. The Irish budget carrier offers service to Treviso from Dublin, London, Paris Beauvais and a host of other European cities. Hungarian LCC Wizz Air also uses the airport.
Budget carriers like Ryan and Wizz often seek out secondary airports that are 30 minutes or so outside of the destination city. The landing fees are often cheaper at these out-of-the-way places, so they fit well with airlines’ no-frills operation strategies.
An out of the way airport that actually isn't out of the way
Most of the cities that have these secondary airports are suburban, industrial or rural. That is not the case with Treviso. Though it is not as famous as Venice, Treviso is a good tourist destination. Those who take the time to stop here will see that this town is attractive and attraction filled.
Most tourists sprint from tarmac to Venice-bound bus. What these people don't realize is that the Old World charm that is getting harder and harder to find in Venetian streets can still be experienced in abundance inside the walls of Treviso.
Treviso is only a couple of miles away from the airport. It features medieval-era walls, historic villas, churches with intact frescos, and even some of the same kind of canals seen in Venice (albeit on a smaller, narrower scale). There are also plazas, gardens and narrow, winding streets.
Some Venice-like attractions, and its own attractiveness
Admittedly, Treviso does not reach the same scale as Venice in terms of its tourist attractions. There are no impressively wide canals, no huge plazas and no towering cathedrals. At the same time, you also won't encounter the high price tags that are so common in Venice. Since most people head right for its larger neighbor, Treviso is never, ever very crowded. For this reason, if you want to escape the whole tourist-group scene, it is a very good alternative to Venice. There is even a morning fish market, which is smaller than the famed one in Rialto, but just as bustling and atmospheric.
You can even catch a glimpse of Italy's fashion industry in the town's central plaza. The Benetton brand was started in Treviso, and the flagship store is still located right in the central piazza. In fact, there is a surprisingly lively shopping scene throughout the city. Treviso's other major product is prosecco, the sparkling white wine that is sometimes used as a substitute for champagne.
Treviso is certainly worth a few hours of Venice-visitors' time. It could even be the focal point of a trip to the region or a base from which to launch day-trips to Venice (instead of the other way around). One has to wonder: is Treviso an exception to the rule or are there other cities around secondary airports that are worth tourists' time? It might be worth looking into the next time you catch a Ryanair flight.
More by Josh Lew
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports