Luxury barge river cruise vacations on the Italian hotel barge LA BELLA VITA. Cruise Venice, the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon, the Bianca Canal and the Po Valley. Treat yourself to a barging holiday and enjoy this splendid area of Italy. Italian Hotel Barge LA BELLA VITA Venice Italy River Cruises

Hotel barge river cruise vacations in Italy
Venice, the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon, the Bianca Canal and the Po Valley

Standard Classic Cruise Itinerary

Mantua to Venice

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Sunday, Day 1 - Mantua

Guests are met at the Hotel Laguna Palace in Mestre or Piazzale Roma in Venice and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to La Bella Vita for a Prosecco welcome. Then we stroll through the historic city centre and visit the magnificent 14th century Ducal Palace, before perhaps a short cruise around the lakes surrounding the city, before dinner on board.

Monday, Day 2 - Mantua to Governolo

This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Mantua. This imposing city was home to the poet Virgil, artists Mantegna and Donatello and under the Lordship of the powerful Gonzaga Family. Mantua has early Etruscan origins but today is a center of extraordinary neo-classical and baroque architecture. We have a guided tour of the city squares, the Cathedral and the Baptistery, and then enjoy lunch back on La Bella Vita and an afternoon cruise through the Mincio Natural Park to Governolo. Dinner on board.

Tuesday, Day 3 - Governolo to Bosaro

A morning cruise along the Bianco Canal to Zelo past villages and farmsteads to our mooring at Bosaro. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the Schifanoia Palace, renowned for its fabulous 15th century frescoes. We also admire the exterior of 14th century Estense Castle and its moat and visit the magnificent cathedral with its façade of sculpted images described as an illustrated Bible. Afterwards, we rejoin La Bella Vita at Bosaro. Dinner on board.

Wednesday, Day 4 - Bosaro to Taglio di Po

This morning we drive to the Bagnoli Estate to tour the Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti, to enjoy a private tasting of their renowned estate grown vintages. This winery has been supplying Venetian society for centuries. We return to La Bella Vita for lunch, then an afternoon cruise downstream along the Bianco Canal to enter the River Po and arrive at our peaceful mooring place at Taglio di Po. This evening we have dinner ashore at the beautiful 17th century Villa Ca'Zen, a private riverside stately home, where we are hosted by the longstanding family owners. It was here that Lord Byron courted the Countess Guccioli and, while a guest at the Villa, wrote some of his best poetry.

Thursday, Day 5 - Chioggia to San Pietro in Volta

A morning cruise to Porto Levante, passing through a nature reserve with flamingos and occasional heron, snipe and other wildfowl, before visiting Chioggia. Here we visit the 18th century Church of San Domenico set on its own island, to see Carpaccio's St Paul, his last recorded painting and other works of art by Tintoretto and Bassano. We also admire the Piazzetta Vigo and see the colorful fish market. There will also be the opportunity to enjoy a short tour of Chioggia's pretty canals in a traditional locally-built boat. After lunch back on board, we cruise through the lagoon past rustic fishing huts on stilts and the island of Pellestrina, to San Pietro in Volta. Perhaps time to stroll or cycle along the 18th century Istrian sea wall. Dinner on board.

Friday, Day 6 - San Pietro in Volta to Venice

This morning we cruise to Venice, passing several lagoon islands including San Servolo, once a hospital for the Crusaders and San Lazzaro degli Armeni, an early 18th century Armenian monastery. These islands sport brightly colored houses, painted fishing boats and tiny churches. After mooring on the waterfront outside the Naval Museum not far from St Mark's Square, we have lunch on board. In the afternoon, there is a guided tour of the Doge's Palace, the magnificent palace that was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries and the home of the Doges. Captain's Farewell Dinner on board and perhaps a final evening stroll to St Mark's Square.

Saturday, Day 7 - Venice

After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the Hotel Laguna Palace in Mestre or Piazzale Roma in Venice.

Note: This is a sample itinerary and subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in reverse direction. Some cruises may be on the River Po, depending on the water level. Alternative locations possible for Private Charter bookings.

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