(Po River Cruise)
Experience Venice before discover the The variety of charming waterways between Venice and Mantua promises a unique and magical barging experience. With only twenty guests aboard, you'll experience an intimate and tailored experience like no other. Your itinerary includes fascinating excursions that offer a real insight into the many cultures - Roman, Etruscan, Istrian, Byzantine and of course Renaissance - that have influenced the arts, architecture and history of this Italian region over many centuries. This special voyage also gives the opportunity to enjoy the diverse landscapes and nature en route, from picturesque lagoon islands with their colourful houses, to wild beach dunes and pine woods with a variety of birdlife; from the charming Venetian port of Chioggia via the River Po and Bianco Canal to the captivating lakeside setting of the Renaissance city of Mantua.
2013: Cruise departures on Sundays, from Mar 31 - Oct 27.
You will be met at your hotel by our local representative who will accompany you on the transfer from your hotel to the Marco Polo Airport by private water taxi.
The Palace Bonvecchiati (4*) is located in the heart of Venice, has the most privileged position of any 4-star hotel in Venice: the hotel is in Calle Goldoni, just a 3-minute walk from Saint Mark's Square and 5 minutes from the Rialto Bridge. Palace Bonvecchiati is unique to Venice: a modern luxury hotel in the heart of historic Venice. The lounge is of exceptional class and elegance, where authentic contemporary works of art are found as a counterpoint to the very original red sofas that stand out against the terrazzo floor and the precious marble of the walls.
Meet your english speaking guide for a 4 hour guided private tour to Murano and Burano on your own private boat. After being picked up by your guide at your hotel, take in the sights as you sail past the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Public Gardens, the tip of Sant'Elena and the famous Arsenal of the Venetian Republic. The first stop on your tour is Murano, known throughout the world for its glass manufacturing industry. Here we stop to visit to one of the most famous and ancient glass factories, where you can enjoy a live glass blowing demonstration performed by a Maestro Glass Maker. The second stop is at the picturesque island of Burano, famous not only for its lace but also for the fishermen's houses painted in bright colours. Relax and enjoy a coffee before your tour guide will bring you back to your hotel or to Venice centre.
In the early afternoon, you'll be met by a barge representative and transferred to port, where your awaiting barge is moored.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom. A Prosecco welcome gives you a chance to meet the crew followed by a late afternoon cruise, taking you along the Giudecca Canal past some of Venice’s most famous monuments: the Chiesa del Redentore, the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria Madonna della Salute and the Punta della Dogana to your mooring outside the Naval Museum. Dinner on board, followed perhaps by an evening stroll to St Mark’s Square.
La Bella Vita is a stylish 20-passenger river barge that was newly refitted in 2010 to higher standards. There are two upper-deck junior suites and eight staterooms, each with en-suite facilities. The dining room, bar and saloon areas are bright and spacious and the entire barge is air conditioned. Louvred doors open to the side decks to give a perfect viewing platform, whilst above is a huge sun deck with comfortable sun loungers. For those who wish to explore the area further there are bikes available on board and an expert tour guide to recommend the best routes to take. Delicious regional cuisine, fine Italian wines and the services of an attentive crew of seven will make this an unforgettable cruise.
Your day today consists of a guided walking tour to Castello District, perhaps discovering some hidden parts of the city of Venice: the gardens of the Biennale Exhibition of Modern Arts, Palladio’s Church of San Pietro in Castello, the Naval Museum with a model of the Bucintoro (Doge’s Boat) and the Pavilion of Gondolas housing Peggy Guggenheim’s own vessel. Late afternoon cruise to Pellestrina, separating the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, along the Canal of the Orphans passing lagoon islands with their brightly coloured houses, painted fishing boats and tiny churches.
After a stroll or cycle along the 18th Century Istrian sea wall in Pellestrina, you cruise to Chioggia, city of Goldoni’s plays. Here you visit the picturesque town centre and colourful fish market. You also see the Cathedral and the Piazzetta Vigo before cruising on to the River Po delta. Passing through a nature reserve with flamingos and occasional heron, snipe and other wetland wildfowl, you travel upriver to Taglio di Po for dinner ashore hosted by the owners at the beautiful 17thC Villa Ca’Zen, a private stately home by the river where Lord Byron courted the Countess Giuccioli and wrote some of his best poetry.
After breakfast you'll transfer to the Bagnoli Estate where you visit the magnificent Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17th Century Villa Widmann-Borletti for a private tasting of their renowned estate grown vintages. This winery has been supplying Venetian society for centuries. Afternoon cruise to Bosaro.
Today you'll get to experience a guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the 14th century Estense Castle. This ancient ducal fortress with moat, drawbridges, unusual battlements and towers, houses marble balconies and sumptuous apartments. You'll see the Cathedral façade with its sculpted images, described as an Illustrated Bible, and visit the Schifanoia Palace with its fabulous 15th century frescoes. Conclude with a walk through the medieval city centre and Jewish Ghetto before returning to your barge. Afternoon, cruise from Bosaro past villages and farmsteads, along the Bianco Canal to Zelo.
Cruise from Zelo, through the Mincio Natural Park to Mantua where you'll enjoy a guided tour. 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 centre of extraordinary neo-classical and baroque architecture. You'll view the city squares, Cathedral and the Baptistery.
After breakfast, you'll disembark from your barge and bid farewell to your fellow cruisemates.
After disembarking, you'll receive an outbound transfer from the port.
Take a private water taxi for an airport transfer.
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