Belluno is in the northern part of the Veneto-Venezia region, just where the flat plains of the south meet the dolomites and mountains to the north - north of Conegliano and south of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Venice is less than an hour to the south of here.
The town has an attractive backdrop of mountains. Although it is the proximity of these mountains, and the outdoor pursuits that they provide, that attracts many of the visitors to Belluno, the town itself is very attractive and certainly deserves a visit.
The town is now quite extensive due to more recent development but as always it is in the older part that visitors will find the sights of interest. Start your tour of Belluno in the Piazza del Duomo which is surrounded by grand palazzos and villas.
The 16th century Belluno cathedral di San Martino dominates the square and the cathedral belltower also dominates views of the town from the surrounding mountains. The cathedral is a pleasing if unexceptional building in the yellow stone that characterises the buildings in the region.
Close to the cathedral there is also a medieval baptistry best known for its font which features a 17th century carving of Saint John the Baptist. The most imposing palazzo in Belluno is also on the cathedral square: called the Palazzo dei Rettori (picture above) it dates from the 15th century and was the Town Hall in medieval times.
The 12th century tower next to the Palazzo and called the Torre Civica is all that remains of the castle that once formed the heart of the town.
Continue to pass some time simply soaking up the relaxing atmosphere then after exploring, the best place to recover and to people watch is in one of the cafes around the Piazza dei Martiri, which also has a good number of renaissance style palazzos to admire. Note that the name of the square (in English 'Place of the Martyrs') comes from some Italian partisans who were hanged in the square during the second World War).
There is also a reasonably interesting town museum in Belluno with a collection of 16th and 17th century paintings by local artists and also some local archaeological artefacts.
From Via Duomo you reach the pretty square called Piazza del Mercato from where you can stroll along Via Mezzaterra. You can get nice views across the surrounding countryside from the 12th century gateway called Porta Rugo at the end of Via Mezzaterra, and also from the top of the belltower of the cathedral, but for the best views across the town and the surrounding region we recommend you take the chairlift up the mountain from Faverghera.
It is the mountains around the town that provide the principal interest for visitors, and Belluno is very much a gateway town to explore the splendours of the dolomites.
In summer there are numerous marked trails of varying degrees of difficulty to follow, as well as numerous cycling routes to follow (both on roads and on trails) or hanggliding for the more adventurous. In the winter it is sports such as skiing, bobsleighs, snowboards and cross-country skiing that take over the mountains.
Note: main picture shows Lake Misurina in the mountains above Belluno.
Selected places to visit near Belluno, Italy
See the Venice-Veneto guide for more travel ideas...