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Van Gogh Tours - Italy cycling and walking tours

Mantua to Venice

From: $1,270 USD

8 Days / 7 Nights
Type: Guided
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Imagine Yourself…

  • Cycling through tiny, picturesque Italian villages steeped in history
  • Exploring the romantic bridges and streets of Venice, the “Repubblica Serenissima,” on foot
  • Cruising to the lovely Chioggia to explore medieval architecture and a local fish market
  • Watching herons and flamingos by the water’s edge in a nature reserve
  • Staying overnight in a sleepy village of the beautiful Canal Bianco

Overview

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

Daily Itinerary

  • DAY 1 - Arrival in Mantua 

    ‘Benvenuti  Mantova!’
    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, tour leader, captain and crew, you will have a preview of the week’s highlights and cycling itinerary by the tour guide.  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 we meet our local guide who will lead us through the most known highlights of the town. Starting from Piazza Sordello with its magnificent cathedral and Palazzo Ducale, we will walk through the city centre up to Piazza delle Erbe. Here we will admire the Clock Tower, the Rotonda di S. Lorenzo (the oldest church in town) and the Cathedral of St. Andrew, a jewel of Renaissance art and architecture. We will learn why Mantua, once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family, is now considered by many as Italy’s “Sleeping Beauty”. (The program may be subject to changes).

  • 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. It’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. And to this day, Ferrara University ranks among the best, and the town is dubbed the ”Cycling Capital of Italy”.

    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 on the Island Pellestrina, just in front of the bustling and colorful fishing port of Chioggia, known as “Little Venice.”

  • DAY 6 - Pellestrina Island - Venice – 16 miles (25 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. Benvenuti a Venezia!

  • 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.

Dates & Prices

Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full

2024

Departure

Barge

Twin

Twin – Superior

Bunk-cabin

Single

June 8

Vita Pugna

$ 1770

$ 2760

June 22

Vita Pugna

$ 1770

$ 2760

June 29

Ave Maria

$ 2040

$ 2320

$ 1820

$ 2430

July 13

Ave Maria

$ 2040

$ 2320

$ 1820

$ 2430

July 27

Ave Maria

$ 2040

$ 2320

$ 1820

$ 2430

August 24

Ave Maria

$ 2370

$ 2650

$ 2150

$ 2760

October 19

Ave Maria

$ 2210

$ 2480

$ 1990

$ 2590

Prices are per person in US Dollars / inclusive bike rental

2025

Departure

Barge

Twin

Twin – Superior

Bunk-cabin

Single

April 5

Ave Maria

$ 1540

$ 1780

$ 1280

$ 1950

April 12

Vita Pugna

$ 1300

$ 2310

April 19

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

April 26

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

May 3

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2760

May 10

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

May 17

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2760

May 24

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

May 31

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2790

June 7

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

June 14

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2790

June 21

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

June 28

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

July 5

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

July 12

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

July 19

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

July 26

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

August 2

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

August 9

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

August 16

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

August 23

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

August 30

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

September 8

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

September 13

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

Full


September 20

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

Full


September 27

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

October 4

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

October 11

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

October 18

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2760

  • What's included

    • 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets, and two towels)
    • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 6 dinners
    • 27-speed hybrid bicycle rental, including helmet, cycle computer, pannier, lock
    • Coffee and tea on board
    • Multilingual tour leader(s)
    • Route descriptions and maps
    • Visit of historic glass factory with demonstration on Murano island
    • Guided visit in Mantua
    • Mid-week service of cabin cleaning and towel change
    • Visit and tasting at Grana Padano cheese factory
    • Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
    • Bus transfer Ferrara/Zelo or Ferrara/Adria
    • Harbor Fees
    • Reservation costs
  • Bikes

    Well-maintained, comfortable 27-speed hybrid bikes are included. These unisex bike models come in sizes appropriate to your height. The bikes have a cycle computer, side pannier, helmet and lock. A map holder/front bag is also given to the people that want to do this tour as a self-guided tour. We recommend that you bring your own reusable water bottle
    An 9-gear Shimano electric bike is also available for this tour ($160 per person – limited availability). 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.

  • Meals

    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. After the daily trip you will receive on board a snack/cake/fruit with coffee/tea. 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-/lactose-free or vegan diet there is an additional charge of $60 per week.

  • Not included

    • Airfare
    • Museum entrance fees and private expenses
    • 1 Dinner
    • Drinks (other than coffee & tea) on board
    • One ferry fee (about €9 per person)
    • Transfer on Vaporetto to and from barge on free days in Venice
    • Trip cancellation insurance

Accommodations

The accommodations listed below are examples of those usually used on the tour. Depending on availability, you may be booked in a different accommodation of equal quality.

Ave Maria

Ave Maria

Premium barge
  • Individually controlled air conditioning
  • Sun deck
  • Beautiful lounge and Restaurant area

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