Italy River Cruise: Venetian Lagoon Po River And Canal Bianco
The Italian barge sailing on La Bella Vita starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday . Youll board the barge on early Sunday afternoon and leave on Saturday morning. The barge is a fantastic way to slowly experience the colourful lagoon islands and historic places between Venice and Mantua.
This trip encourages you to slow down and fully absorb your surroundings. The total drive distance between Venice and Mantua is about an hour and 40 minutes. Youll spend six full days stopping in lots of little towns and attractions on the way.
After spending a couple of days in Venice, we sailed south through the Venetian Lagoon to the island of Pellestrina. Then, youll experience Chioggia before sailing on the Taglio di Po towards Canal Bianco, making numerous stops on the way. Ill go into those in more detail a little later in the article.
Italian River Cruise Highlights
Our La Bella Vita hotel barge travels between Venice and Mantua. Whether you embark or alight from Venice, youll be in the perfect location for a spot of pre- or post-cruise exploring. The canals, architecture and cultures of Venice are truly spectacular and there really is nowhere else quite like it. Youll pass Venices famed Chiesa del Redentore and the impressive Punta della Dogana art museum, before disembarking to enjoy a walking tour of more of the citys famed sites and lesser-known gems.
A popular stop along our La Bella Vita cruise is to Chioggia a true hidden gem thats often referred to as Venice without the tourists. Youll visit Piazzetta Vigo, famed for its fish market aboard a traditional fishing boat, and the eighteenth-century Church of San Domenico.
The Renaissance city of Ferrara is where youll alight to admire the exterior of the Estense Castle and its moat, discover the Schifanoia Palace, renowned for its fabulous fifteenth-century frescoes, and visit the magnificent cathedral with its façade of sculpted images described as an illustrated Bible.
One popular stop as La Bella Vita travels through the Veneto region is the lovelyVilla CaZen, a seventeenth-century villa in the Po Delta Nature Reserve, the countrys biggest regional park. The villas long and interesting history is inextricably linked to one of Britains greatest poets: Lord Byron. Today, guests can exclusively enjoy a private dinner at this famed stately home.
Po River Cruises In Italy 2022 2023
An exhilarating river cruise awaits you along Italy’s beautiful Po river. Embarking on a river cruise along Italy’s Po river will be a moveable feast for you senses as you cruise through the heart of Italy. you’ll see some of Italy’s most famed sights while you taste some of the fine regional cruisine and hear the sounds of Italy in the bustling marketplaces and streets. As you cruise from city to city in you luxury boutique vessel, you will delight in Italy’s hidden gems, including romantic wine bars and stunning Tuscan wine estates. From Venice, you will travel to Ravenna, Bologna and Verona – cities known for their unparalleled romance and beauty. Uncover ancient mosaics, find romance and learn the tricks of past making.
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Pellestrina A Venetian Island
Later that same day, La Bella Vita set out on a late afternoon cruise towards Pellestrina. The island of Pellestrina separates the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. La Bella Vita drifted down the Canal of the Orphans. We sat on the top deck of the barge and admired the numerous little islands dotted with ancient structures.
We docked in Pellestrina alongside a collection of bright and colourful homes. At this point, you can either walk or go bike riding on the island. Justin and I hopped on the bikes as we love cycling when we travel. Whether youre bike riding or walking, we all met at a small gelato shop in Pellestrina for a treat .
Our small group continued the bike ride along one edge of the island that had a lengthy paved path on the waterfront. We looped back around and arrived back at the barge just in time for dinner .
Getting To Italy For An Italian River Cruise
We travelled from Toronto to Venice on a direct flight . As its generally always an overnight flight from Canada to European destinations, we arrived a day early to get over some of the jet lag.
Justin and I spent one night at Hotel Abbazia in Venice. We chose a hotel that wasnt far from the main train station and Piazzale Roma as this was to be our pickup point to travel to the barge the following day. I suggest extending your stay in Venice, especially if youve never been before. 3 days in Venice is a good amount of time.
Hotel Abbazia has wonderful service and clean rooms. While the rooms dont have many frills, they are comfortable and offer lovely views of Venetian homes.
We also really loved the inner courtyard garden thats available for all guests to enjoy. Its such a peaceful place right in the middle of Venice. Its amazing! When you walk out to the main streets, its abuzz with hoards of tourists. But, once you walk down the narrow street to the hotel, youd never know that you were around anyone at all. Its so quiet!
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Getting To The Barge For Our Italy River Cruise
From the hotel, you typically meet the staff of La Bella Vita at a designated spot in Piazzale Roma. Then, you will stay in Venice or drive to Mantua in an air-conditioned van.
Our case was a unique one. There were only five of us sailing on board La Bella Vita and the barge was docked in Venice. So, the staff of the barge ordered a private water taxi to pick us up at our hotel. We sailed over to the other hotel where our fellow passengers stayed, and then we continued to the barge. While this is not a typical experience, it was a lot of fun to ride down the Grand Canal in a private water taxi!
During your trip, the staff will pick you up from Piazzale Roma and cruise to the docking point at Castello . Youll also get to ride around in a private water taxi from La Bella Vita to Murano. As we had only ever used public transportation on our previous trip to Venice, the private water taxi was a treat.
Highlights Of The Mediterranean
Join Viking and discover a region awash in culture and history. Civilization is said to have begun and evolved on these shores, whether as the birthplace of democracy or science or with the refinement of wine or art. From the sun-soaked shores of Spain and Sicily to the ancient past of Greece and Israel, Viking reveals millennia of history to you during our many journeys along these fabled waters. Here is a sample of what you can look forward to on a Mediterranean cruise:
- Romes monumental Colosseum and Pantheon
- Vatican Citys glorious St. Peters Basilica
- Tuscanys hilltop medieval towns
- Classical Athens, birthplace of democracy
- The architectural brilliance of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona
- The fine flavors of Italys Chianti and Portugals port
- Venices romantic, car-free lanes and alleys
- The magnificently preserved walled city of Dubrovnik
- Breathtaking beauty of the Greek Islands
- The holy city of Jerusalem
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Daily Excursions On Our Italy River Cruise
Every day, we participated in exciting day trips that provided insights into local culture and history, whether it was Renaissance, Roman, Etruscan or Byzantine. On some occasions, our knowledgeable cruise director, Ilaria took us on a tour and sometimes we were joined by a local guide.
In addition to these daily excursions and outings, there were also a few surprises on the way. The crew added some really fun surprises to the trip that really elevated the experience. I wont write about them as I dont want to spoil the surprise. Youll have to travel on La Bella Vita to see for yourself.
Why Book With Wexas Travel
At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.
Contact one of our consultants on020 7590 0615 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.
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Italy River Cruises Travel Tips
- To ensure walking comfort, wear cushioned walking shoes that fit well on your feet, as you will do a great deal of walking off the river cruise ship.
- Check your travel documents for errors and keep them accessible and handy for quick retrieval.
- Convert your currency so you have a way to pay if you cannot use your credit card.
- Pack your clothes so you only bring what you need. You should only need to travel with a carryon and a soft and small-wheeled duffel bag with a telescopic handle for easy transport.
- Carry a universal travel adapter to quickly connect your electronics.
- Carry a light sweater or jacket in case the air conditioning is too cold or you get caught in a shower.
- Use Google Translate to help you read Italian language menus and signs.
Discover Must Do Experiences And Highlights
World Heritage-listed Ferrara
Explore the town of Ferrara. World Heritage-listed for its historic and preserved town planning, wander through cobbled laneways to admire the medieval and renaissance architecture.
Chioggia Fish Market
A lively and colourful fishing village, Chioggias bustling fish market is where the catch of the day is to be found on a guided tour.
The Islands of Venice
Admire the skilled lacemakers of Borano, sample historic wines at the vineyards of Mazzorbo and witness the stunning mosaics in the cathedral on Torcello.
The Rialto Market
Follow your appetite through the historic Rialto market for a taste of the real Venice. Trading for over 700 years, watch the daily trade of fresh produce, cheeses and salamis and sample everything on offer!
Living the Local Life
Get a taste of local life when you head out into the lagoon from Chioggia, to take part in the mussel harvest. Alternatively, take an Italian cooking class in Bologna and learn the art of Bolognese!
Europe River Cruises
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Italy Crurise & Tour Faqs
Why should I choose an Italy cruise?What should I look for on a small ship cruise?All vesselsAre there 5-star river vessels in Europe?Should I get a room with a balcony?What is dining like?Do Italian cruises ever visit destinations that aren’t on the coast?Will my vessel have WiFi?What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?Are cruises in Italy a good family vacation?Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel to Italy?European visa requirements
Venice And The Po River Cruises
Come on board a CroisiEurope river cruise to discover Venice and its lagoon in Italy. Listed as UNESCO world heritage site since 1987, your ship is docked walking distance from the famous and iconic St Mark Square. Enjoy picturesque views of Venice and the lagoon islands, stroll through the narrow streets and escape on a gondola down the charming canals that make this Italian city so unique.
Let the dream begin: embark on a comfortable journey on board the MS Michelangelo to discover the Po river in Italy. Explore Venice and its Lagoon, including the most renowned islands Burano and Murano.
Browse CroisiEurope Po and Venice river cruises below by date, price and details.
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Booking Your Italy River Cruise With European Waterways
Its really easy to book your Italy river cruise with European Waterways. Head over to the booking page for La Bella Vita. From there, you can browse the dates and itineraries, checking out their special offer discounts for certain dates.
There are even special themed cruise itineraries for specific dates. There are opera cruises, golf cruises, garden cruises, wine appreciation cruises, and family cruises . Its also possible to book the entire La Bella Vita barge as a private charter if youre sailing with a large group.
Theres also a solo cruise itinerary for those who typically travel by themselves. An Italian barge cruise is a fantastic way to meet new people and make new friends .
Italy River Cruise Aboard La Bella Vita
Are you new to the idea of luxury barge cruising? My first sailing aboard a barge was a few years ago on the Athos du Midi in the south of France. While I embarked on that sailing as a solo traveller, I was so excited for Justin to have the barge experience this time around!
Think of the barge, La Bella Vita, as a luxurious, first class hotel that floats down the river. La Bella Vita hosts anywhere from 10 to 20 guests. There are numerous shared spaces both indoors and outdoors, including a dining room, a living room with a bar, and the top deck with tables, chairs and loungers. Youll also have your own private cabin with its own bathroom.
Theres a fine dining chef on board who prepares delicious meals, three times a day, and theres an open bar for drinks around the clock. For lunch and dinner, there are specially selected Italian red and white wines paired with your meals. You can also have an espresso or cappuccino whenever you like.
In this case, youll start your trip in either Venice or Mantua. Essentially, the barge sails between Venice and Mantua. Depending on where it starts that week is where youll board. Youll spend your mornings or afternoons at a new town or destination and a portion of the day sailing between each place. In some cases, youll be able to explore right from the barge and in others, the cruise director will transport you to the destination by van.
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Themed Italian River Cruises
We can arrange a wide selection of themed charters, which can appeal to all types of groups, large or small. They can centre around interests from local culture and gastronomy to more active pursuits, such as on our Golf Cruises. Popular themed itineraries include Family Cruises, which are suitable for multi-generational travellers including young children and take into consideration the ages and interests of all those in the group. They offer a wide range of activities and equipment, such as high chairs, car seats and bicycles.
Oenophiles are sure to enjoy our impressive Wine Appreciation Cruises, which offer an array of wine tours and tastings at local and renowned wineries, such as the superb Wine Estate of Orto and the seventeenth-century Villa Widmann Borletti.
Supplements may apply.
For more information on Italy Theme Cruises, including our spectacular La Bella Vita Opera Cruises in the summer months or our exclusive Solo Cruises in the autumn, please speak to a member of our Cruise Team.
Adria And Bagnoli Estate
From the Po River, this Italian river cruise joins the Canal Bianco for a cruise to Adria, an ancient Etruscan town. You can visit the towns Archaeological Museum or go for a self-guided exploration. We spent a couple of hours in Adria. Its a pretty small place, so you dont need much longer than that.
After lunch back on La Bella Vita, Ilaria drove us to Bagnoli Estate. Justin and I toured the Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti. After our tour of the property , we sampled a wide array of their renowned estate-grown vintages. This wine has supplied Venetian society for centuries!
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Whats The Best Choice For A Po River Cruise
If you would like to visit more cities in Italy, then Uniworld is probably the best choice since one of its itineraries includes a visit to both Florence and Rome.
A barge cruise is also a nice option if you prefer a smaller boat with a more intimate setting. European Waterways has several itineraries available. And if you have a large group of friends and family who would enjoy a cruise in Italy, you can charter the boat. It could be a nice way to enjoy a small family reunion.
And if your budget is more limited, CroisiEurope offers cruises that are lower in price than both Uniworld and European Waterways.
France And Italy River Cruises
Find a River Cruise that explores France And Italy. There are 18 cruises to choose from, that range in length from 8 days up to 23 days. The most popular month for these cruises is October, which has the most tour departures. Considering other destinations? Check out all river cruises.
- Paris, Vernon, Les Andelys, Caudebec-en-Caux, Rouen, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, Venice, Rome+2 more
- Age Range
- 8 to 99 year olds
- Country Region
- Nice, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone, Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon-sur-Rhone, Vienne, Lyon, Saint-Jean-de-Losne, Beaune, Dijon, Paris, Venice, Rome+8 more
- Age Range
- 8 to 99 year olds
- Nice, Menton, Portofino, Portoferraio, Calvi, Bonifacio, Porto Ercole, Civitavecchia+1 more
- Age Range
- 12 to 90 year olds
- Travel Style
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