Mantua to Venice Route

There’s no area in Italy that offers “water lovers” such ideal, easy cycling through beautiful countryside and villages in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna. You’ll pedal along the River Po (if navigation on the river is possible) or along the Fissero/Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantua to the Adriatic Sea.
Our comfortable “floating home” makes its way through a unique landscape and stops at towns that seem to have emerged from fairy tales. Highlights include fantastic Chioggia, often called “Little Venice”; Ferrara, meeting point for many local and international cyclists; Etruscan Adria; the delightful islands Pellestrina and Lido and romantic Venice, the “City of Water”.
The bike trails offer similarly dramatic scenery with daily routes all completely over flat roads and bike paths. Bikers have a unique opportunity to experience largely untouched nature, seeing swamps existing for several centuries and surrounded by lovely pine woods. Here natural watercourses, minuscule channels and fishermen’s huts hiding in the reeds are waiting to be discovered. Your cycling companions are an international group of cycling enthusiasts who enjoy a relaxed pace, great Italian food and flat, safe bike routes. Bring your camera! This is a reasonably priced Italian vacation you’ll never forget!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Mantua!
Our comfortable barge is moored at Porto Catena just a short walk from the city center. Your cabin is available at 4:30 PM. After meeting your cycling companions, guide, captain and crew and storing your luggage in your cabin, there is time to wonder around in Mantua, a beautiful and historic city surrounded by lakes on three sides. It was once one of the greatest Renaissance Courts in Europe and home to the wealthy Gonzaga family. Today it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic center features dozens of fascinating piazzas, churches, monuments and courtyards and is one of the loveliest Renaissance towns of Northern Italy and a fitting place to start our wonderful bike-barge vacation. After your visit return for dinner at 7:00 PM on the boat, followed by a preview of the week’s highlights and cycling itinerary by the tour guide.

Day 2: Mantua Round Trip – 25 miles
An entire day dedicated to the discovery of this little visited cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside – once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family. In the late afternoon a local guide will lead you through the most known highlights of the town.

Day 3: Mantua (Mantova in Italian) – Governolo – Zelo – 31 miles
A short cruise along the lush banks of the Mincio takes us to Governolo, where it flows into the Po and forms the largest inland basin in Italy. At Governolo Lock, once a vital staging post for local navigation, we saddle our bikes and follow the Po through Ostiglia (famed for its medieval fortress and floating mill) and on to the village of Bergantino. Here we visit the
charming Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum. Finally, we reach Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.

Day 4: Zelo – Ferrara – Adria – 31 miles by bike – 36 miles by bus
After breakfast we’ll cycle to medieval Ferrara, nicknamed the “city of bicycles”. Ferrara’s well preserved historical center is still surrounded by spectacular old city walls. The town has broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the 14th and 15th century. Because of its beauty and cultural importance Ferrara has been qualified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. In the afternoon a bus will bring us to Adria, an ancient Greek port famous for trading amber coming from the Baltic. Before the Greeks the Etruscans in the 6th century BC built the port and settlement of Adria which gave its name to the Adriatic Sea.

Day 5: Adria – Porto Viro – Chioggia – 25 miles
An exhilarating day of discovery alternating sailing and cycling starts with a short cruise to our drop-off point at Porto Viro and the exploration of the Po’s delta. This unique wetland park is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to several colonies of flamingos. At the mouth of the River Adige, which flows fast and cool from the Dolomites, we then follow the Po-Brondolo waterway and reach the Venetian lagoon. Our overnight stop is the bustling and colourful fishing port of Chioggia, known as “Little Venice”.

Day 6: Chioggia – Venice – 18 miles
Our morning consists of easy flat biking over two narrow islands which build the border between the sea and the lagoon. The boat will bring us to the nature reserve “Ca’Roman” at the point of Pellestrina Island, an authentic fishermen island. We bike to the other side of the island and here cross to Lido Island, one of the most impressive resorts for the rich and famous and the home of the Venice Film Festival. Before reaching the center of Lido we’ll pass by Malamocco, the first seat of the Republic of the Doges. After some sightseeing in Lido we enter Venice. Our comfortable barge is moored at Certosa Island.

Day 7: Venice – free day
You’ll rise today to a wonderful view over the scenic Venetian lagoon! It is impossible to cycle the narrow, crooked streets and innumerable steps to Venice’s romantic bridges so today is a day for you to explore by foot the many wonders of magnificent Venice, the capital of the “Repubblica Serinissima”, the Serene Republic. You will have the option to join a guided tour. You also might like to visit Murano, another island in the Venetian lagoon where gorgeous glass has been blown by Italian artisans for more than 700 years.

Day 8: Departure in the morning after breakfast.

Getting There

Cabins are available on Day 1 at 4:30 PM. Dinner and a welcome meeting are at 7 PM. A map and the name of your boat will be sent to you after receipt of your final payment.

Meals

The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a three-course dinner of excellent quality. A packed lunch may be prepared after breakfast. Tea and coffee will be ready when you arrive on board in the afternoon. There is a bar on the boat with beer, wine and soft drinks at reasonable prices.

Prices and Dates

Check out “Italy Tours” in our GUIDED Tour Calendar

Tour Length

8 days/7 nights

Included
      – 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets and two towels)
      – 7 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches and 7 dinners
      – 21-speed hybrid bicycle rental, including helmet, pannier, water bottle, lock
      – Tour guide on bike (multilingual)
      – Information pack, route descriptions and maps
      – Mid-week service of cabin cleaning and towel change
      – Bus transfer Ferrara/Zelo or Ferrara/Adria
      – Booking Fee
      – Coffee and tea on board
      – Harbor Fees
    – Entrances and visits as mentioned in the itinerary
Bicycles

Well-maintained, comfortable 27-speed hybrid bikes are included. These unisex bike models come in sizes appropriate to your height. The bikes have a side pannier, helmet, water bottle, and lock. If you prefer to bring your own bike you are welcome to do so but realize that bikes cannot be transported on the TGV (high-speed train) in France. A map holder/front bag is also given to the people that want to do this tour as a self-guided tour. An electric bike is also available for this tour ($120 p.p.). We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They are heavier than regular bikes and therefore can be difficult to maneuver. In addition you can rent children’s bikes, child seats, bike trailers and tag-alongs.

Level of Difficulty

This tour is rated “easy” for its flat terrain and low mileage. All distances are approximate. The above planned itinerary is subject to change due to changing wind and weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances having to do with mooring requirements, etc.

Excluded

– Airfare
– Transfer on Vaporetto to and from barge on free days in Venice
– Museum entrance fees and private expenses
– Drinks (other than coffee & tea) on board
– Gratuity for the guide
– Ferry fees (about € 9 per person)

Weather

Average daytime temperatures in Italy in April and May are 55-75. June, July, and August range from 65-85, and September and October from 60-75. It rains about 7 days per month, with more rain in September and October and less rain in July and August.

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