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Bike and Barge Italy - Venice to Mantua - Van Gogh Tours

Venice to Mantua

From: $1,270 USD

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

Imagine Yourself…

  • Biking alongside untouched natural waterways and pine woods
  • Visiting an island in the Venetian lagoon where gorgeous glass has been blown for over 700 years
  • Cycling along the river Po to a tiny village with the ruins of a medieval fortress
  • Discovering the history of the gorgeous UNESCO town of Mantua
  • Taking your pick of authentic Italian restaurants and cafes

Overview

Venice to Mantua - Bike and Barge - Van Gogh ToursVeneto 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:    Mantua to Venice

Daily Itinerary

  • DAY 1 - Arrival in Venice

    ‘Benvenuti a Venezia’
    Our comfortable barge is moored at Giudecca Island in Venice and is easily reached by “vaporetto” from the train station in the city. Your cabin will be available at 6 p.m. After storing your luggage and meeting your cycling companions, guide, captain and crew we will have a preview of the week’s highlights and cycling itinerary by the tour leader. After dinner we can savour Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic!

  • DAY 2 - 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 we wander off the beaten track with our tour leader. The rest of the day you’re free to enjoy Venice at your own pace, the capital of the “Repubblica Serenissima”, the Serene Republic.

  • DAY 3 - Venice to Pellestrina Island – 16 miles (25 km)

    Leaving Venice behind after a gentle cruise in front of St Mark’s square, our first stop will be on Murano island, where we will visit a historic glass factory, with a glassblowing demonstration by a master artisan. Then our cycling adventure starts on the Lido, one of the most impressive resorts for the rich and famous and the home of the Venice Film Festival. Then we’ll ride on to Malamocco, the first seat of the Republic of the Doges. A short boat cruise will take us to Pellestrina Island, a more authentic fishermen island. Later we’ll reach the nature reserve “Ca’Roman”. In the early afternoon we’ll cross over to bustling Chioggia, a “Venice in miniature” where you’ll find medieval architecture and a famous fish market.

  • DAY 4 - Pellestrina Island - Po Delta Nature Reserve – Adria – 25 miles (40 km)

    A morning stroll through Chioggia’s fish market is recommended and, time allowing, a visit up the millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. Our cycling resumes southbound, into the delta of the imposing Po. This unique wetland park is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a colony of flamingos. We’ll overnight in Adria, an ancient Greek port once close to the shores of the sea that shares its name. The town is also renowned for its Etruscan and Roman heritage.

  • DAY 5 - Adria – Ferrara – Zelo – 22 miles by bike + 22 miles by bus (35 km bike + 35 km bus)

    After a short morning boat ride we’ll cycle following the Po through farmland and hamlets to medieval Ferrara, nicknamed the “city of bicycles.” Ferrara’s well-preserved historical center is still surrounded by spectacular 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 our floating hotel in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, for the night.

  • DAY 6 - Zelo – Mantua (Mantova in Italian) – 31 miles (50 km)

    This morning we head for the village of Bergantino, home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly restored (and thunderous!). But first things first: we are in the heartland of Grana Padano – the arch-rival of Parmesan – and after visiting the local cheese factory, we enjoy a degustazione of sharp and seasoned Grana, washed down with a glass of Valpolicella. After our customary picnic lunch, we leave Bergantino and follow the river to Ostiglia, famed for its medieval fortress and the fierce fighting that took place here in 1945, as the Allies and partisans drove Hitler’s forces back. We’ll pedal on to Mantua, beautifully surrounded by lakes on three sides. Mantua 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. It’s one of the most beautiful Renaissance towns of Northern Italy and a fitting place to end our wonderful bike-barge vacation. Tonight you have dinner on your own in Mantua.

  • DAY 7 - Mantua Round Trip – 22 miles (35 km)

    Ruled by the House of Gonzaga for four centuries, the city-state of Mantua attracted a dizzying roll call of names across the arts – from Rubens and Mantegna to Monteverdi and Mozart – and to this day the town is renowned for its international book festival. A ride through the center soon takes us past Palazzo Tè, on the outskirts, the Gonzagas’ summer residence. Onwards to the hamlet of Grazie and its historic church: a site of pilgrimage, it is adorned with an intriguing host of wooden figures, personifying the many torments that pilgrims of yore could identify with. A cruise on a local barge takes us home through a waterscape rich in birdlife, lilies and other aquatic flora. This afternoon we meet our Mantuan guide for a walking tour of the historic center. 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 programme may be subject to changes). After the guided tour we can enjoy the town at our own leisure. 

  • DAY 8 - Tour Ends

    You’ll depart in in the morning after breakfast.


    ROUTE PROFILE
    Total length : 115/125 miles (185/200 km)
    Total vertical up: 65 Feet (20 m)
    Terrain: 95% tarmac, 5% unpaved

Dates & Prices

Green = Open | Yellow = Limited | Red = Full

2024

Departure

Barge

Twin

Twin – Superior

Bunk-cabin

Single

June 15

Vita Pugna

$ 1770

$ 2760

June 22

Ave Maria

$ 2210

$ 2480

$ 1990

$ 2590

July 6

Ave Maria

$ 2040

$ 2320

$ 1820

$ 2430

August 17

Ave Maria

$ 2040

$ 2320

$ 1820

$ 2430

October 26

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 12

Ave Maria

$ 1540

$ 1780

$ 1280

$ 1950

April 19

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

April 26

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

May 3

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

May 10

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2760

May 17

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

May 24

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2760

May 31

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

June 7

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2790

June 14

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

June 21

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2790

June 28

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

July 5

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

July 12

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

July 19

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

July 26

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

August 2

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

August 9

Vita Pugna

$ 1750

$ 2760

August 16

Ave Maria

$ 2140

$ 2410

$ 1920

$ 2580

August 23

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

August 30

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

September 6

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

September 13

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

September 20

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

September 27

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

October 4

Vita Pugna

$ 1970

$ 2990

October 11

Ave Maria

$ 2490

$ 2780

$ 2280

$ 2930

Book here


October 18

Vita Pugna

$ 1860

$ 2870

October 25

Ave Maria

$ 2320

$ 2590

$ 2100

$ 2760

  • What's included

    • 7 nights on board the ship (sheets, blankets, and two towels)
    • 7 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches, and 6 dinners
    • 27-speed hybrid bicycle rental, including helmet, cycle computer, pannier and lock
    • Coffee and tea on board
    • Mid-week service of cabin cleaning and towel change
    • Multilingual tour leader
    • Information pack, route descriptions, and maps
    • Visit of historic glass factory with demonstration
    • Visit and tasting at Grana Padano cheese factory
    • Visit of Carousel and Entertainment Museum
    • Guided visit in Mantua
    • 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 (Day 6)
    • 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

Reviews

The food was incredible. The staff on the boat were kind, obliging, and liked each other.

Sarah E Pruitt, April 2023


 

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