From: $1,240 USD
8 Days / 7 Nights
Level of Difficulty: Easy
There’s no area in Italy that offers water lovers such ideal, easy cycling through beautiful countryside and villages in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna. You’ll pedal along the River Po (if navigation along the river is possible) or along the Fissero/Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantua to the Adriatic Sea. Our comfortable “floating home” will make its way through a unique landscape and stop at towns that seem to have emerged from fairy tales. Highlights include fantastic Chioggia, often called “Little Venice,” Ferrara, the meeting point for many local and international cyclists, the Etruscan Adria, the delightful islands Pellestrina and Lido, and finally romantic Venice, the “City of Water.” The bike trails offer dramatic scenery with daily routes all completely over flat roads and bike paths. Bikers have a unique opportunity to experience largely untouched nature, seeing swamps that have existed for several centuries and are surrounded by lovely pine woods. Natural watercourses, minuscule channels, and fishermen’s huts hiding in the reeds are waiting to be discovered. Your biking companions are an international group of cycling enthusiasts who enjoy a relaxed pace, great Italian food, and flat, safe bike routes. Bring your camera for this Italian vacation you’ll never forget!
REVERSE ROUTE: Venice to Mantua
Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full
Prices are per person in US$ – inclusive bike rental
|March 25||Ave Maria||$ 1,310||$ 1,530||$ 1,660|
|April 1||Vita Pugna||$ 1,240||—||$ 2,090 *|
|April 8||Ave Maria||$ 1,310||$ 1,530||$ 1,660|
|April 15||Vita Pugna||$ 1,240||—||$ 2,090 *|
|April 22||Ave Maria||$ 1,830||$ 2,040||$ 2,190|
|April 29||Vita Pugna||$ 1,520||—||$ 2,430 *|
|May 6||Ave Maria||$ 1,950||$ 2,170||$ 2,320|
|May 13||Vita Pugna||$ 1,580||—||$ 2,480 *|
|May 20||Ave Maria||$ 1,950||$ 2,170||$ 2,320|
|May 27||Vita Pugna||$ 1,580||—||$ 2,480 *|
|June 3||Ave Maria||$ 1,950||$ 2,170||$ 2,320|
|June 10||Vita Pugna||$ 1,580||—||$ 2,480 *|
|June 17||Ave Maria||$ 1,950||$ 2,170||$ 2,320|
|June 24||Vita Pugna||$ 1,580||—||$ 2,480 *||Reserve your cabin here|
|July 1||Ave Maria||$ 1,830||$ 2,200||$ 2,840|
|July 8||Vita Pugna||$ 1,520||—||$ 2,430 *|
|July 15||Ave Maria||$ 1,830||$ 2,040||$ 2,190||Reserve your cabin here|
|July 22||Vita Pugna||$ 1,520||—||$ 2,430 *|
|July 29||Ave Maria||$ 1,830||$ 2,040||$ 2,190||Reserve your cabin here|
|August 5||Vita Pugna||$ 1,520||—||$ 2,430 *|
|August 12||Ave Maria||$ 1,830||$ 2,040||$ 2,190||Reserve your cabin here|
|August 19||Vita Pugna||$ 1,520||—||$ 2,430 *||Reserve your cabin here|
|August 26||Ave Maria||$ 2,080||$ 2,290||$ 2,440||Reserve your cabin here|
|September 2||Vita Pugna||$ 1,640||—||$ 2,550 *|
|September 9||Ave Maria||$ 2,080||$ 2,290||$ 2,440|
|September 16||Vita Pugna||$ 1,640||—||$ 2,550 *|
|September 23||Ave Maria||$ 2,080||$ 2,290||$ 2,440|
|September 30||Vita Pugna||$ 1,640||—||$ 2,550 *|
|October 7||Ave Maria||$ 2,080||$ 2,290||$ 2,440|
|October 14||Vita Pugna||$ 1,640||—||$ 2,550 *|
|October 21||Ave Maria||$ 1,950||$ 2,170||$ 2,320||Reserve your cabin here|
* Twin cabin for single use
3rd Person in cabin on request
DAY 1 – Arrival in Mantua (Mantova in Italian)
Our comfortable barge will be moored at Porto Catena just a short walk from the city center. Your cabin will be available at 6 p.m. After storing your luggage and meeting your cycling companions, guide, captain, and crew, you will have a preview of the week’s highlights and cycling itinerary by the tour guide, followed by dinner. After dinner there will be time to wander 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’s 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 – a fitting place to start our wonderful bike-barge vacation.
DAY 2 – Mantua Round Trip – 22 miles (35 km)
Today you’ll spend an entire day discovering this little-visited cultural gem, with three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio and gorgeous surrounding countryside. Mantua was 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– Governolo – Zelo – 31 miles (50 km)
A short cruise along the lush banks of the Mincio will take us to Governolo, where the river flows into the Po and forms the largest inland basin in Italy. At Governolo Lock, once a vital staging post for local navigation, we’ll 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’ll visit the charming Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum, and have a visit to the local cheese factory, sampling some well seasoned Grana. Finally, we’ll 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 + 37 miles by bus (50 km bike + 60 km 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 private bus and trailer will take us back to Adria, an ancient Roman port famous for trading amber coming from the Baltic. Before the Greeks, in the 6th century B.C. the Etruscans built the port and settlement of Adria which shares its name with the Adriatic Sea.
DAY 5 – Adria – Po Delta Nature Reserve – Pellestrina Island – 25 miles (40 km)
Today will be an exhilarating day of discovery, alternating sailing and cycling. It will start with a short cruise to our drop-off point at Porto Viro and an 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’ll then follow the Po-Brondolo waterway and reach the Venetian lagoon. Our overnight stop is the bustling and colorful fishing port of Chioggia, known as “Little Venice.”
DAY 6 – Pellestrina Island – Venice – 19 miles (30 km)
A morning visit to the fish market is recommended and, time allowing, you can also climb up Chioggia’s millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. We’ll then enjoy some island hopping with easy, flat biking over two narrow islands that form 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’ll bike to the other side 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. We will also visit a historic glass factory on Murano Island, with a glassblowing demonstration by a master artisan. Finally, our floating hotel will take us to our marina in Venice, for the culmination of our bike and boat holiday. Tonight we have dinner on our own.
DAY 7 – Venice – free day
You’ll rise today to a wonderful view over the scenic Venetian lagoon! It’s 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 Serenissima,” the Serene Republic.
DAY 8 – Tour Ends
Your tour ends today with departure in the morning after breakfast.
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’re 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 ($160 per person). Depending on your height, you will be assigned one of the electric bikes below. We advise you only to rent an electric bike if you have first tried one at home. They’re 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.
The cook prepares all meals: a substantial breakfast and a three-course dinner of very good quality. A packed lunch may be prepared after breakfast. Tea and coffee will be ready when you arrive on board in the afternoon. There’s a bar on the boat with beer, wine, and soft drinks at reasonable prices. If you have special meal requirements, we ask you to mention this when booking. In the case of a gluten-free or vegan diet there is an additional charge of $60 per week.
The barges listed below are examples of those usually used on the tour. Depending on availability, you may be booked in a different barge of equal quality.
20 people – After many years as cargo boat, Vita Pugna was completely renovated in the early 1990s in order to start its new life as floating hotel along the Dutch canals. On board the Vita Pugna you will find the same style and cozy atmosphere of the Bike & Barge cruises in Holland enhanced by the friendly and homey management of the international crew. The typical wooden cabin area and the comfortable air-conditioned living room will welcome customers for a well-deserved rest after a day of cycling.
They also offer the convenience of attractive, traditional portholes, which can be opened for fresh air. There is a spacious air-conditioned lounge/restaurant with 5 tables, as well as a sun deck. Guests have access to a free hot drinks machine, including Italian ground coffee, and free WiFi.
36 people – The Ave Maria barge has been totally rebuilt with 100% Italian design by a renowned Italian architectural firm. Its shapes, colors and materials have been chosen carefully in order to create a warm, sober and yet sophisticated atmosphere.
All cabins enjoy sizeable windows (the ones in the Superior cabins can also be partially opened), comfortable low beds, en-suite facilities, air conditioning and safety box. Extra features on the barge include a 33-person dining area, a sizable 28-person lounge, 2 sun decks and free WiFi.
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