Canals in Venice. Photo by Patrick Hickey

Colorful boat in Chioggia - photo by Flickr:maurobrock

Mantova to Venice

Italy Bike + Barge Tours

Bike and Barge Italy!

Never before has there been a bike and boat tour in Italy like this! You can relax on board the boat every evening instead of shuffling from hotel to hotel, and enjoy leisure sails while cycling through gorgeous Italian countrysides and villages during the day. Since 2009 this Mantova to Venice bike and boat tour has been one of our most popular tours.

The tour starts in Mantova (Mantua) – beautifully surrounded by lakes. Its centro historico is not to be missed – dozens of fascinating piazzas, churches, monuments and courtyards! You will visit Castelguglielmo and via small villages and hamlets, you’ll make your way to Ferrara, known as the City of the Renaissance and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other highlights include Adria, once an Etruscan city, and Porto Levante, a great port town with incredible seafood and fantastic views. You will enjoy the great wildlife of the Po Delta National Park and the coastal town of Chioggia, Venice in miniature with great medieval architecture and a famous fish market. Your cycling adventure ends in the great city-on-water, Venice. This city is a delight of lavish pallazi, elaborate bridges, quaint piazzas and magnificent churches all crammed into a maze of narrow streets and canals.

*This tour is also available from Venice to Mantova.

Tour Dates

2015 Dates
Departures from Mantova
Ave Maria: June 27, July 11, July 25, August 8, August 22, September 5, September 19, October 3, and October 17, 2015
Vita Pugna: July 4, July 18, August 1, August 15, August 29, September 12, September 26, and October 10, 2015

Departures from Venice
Ave Maria: July 4, July 18, August 1, August 15, August 29, September 12, September 26, and October 10, 2015
Vita Pugna:  July 11, July 25, August 8, August 22, September 5, September 19, October 3, and October 17, 2015

2016 Dates
Departures from Mantova
Ave Maria: April 2, April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3, September 17, October 1, and October 15, 2016
Vita Pugna: April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, August 13, August 27, September 10, September 24, and October 8, 2016

Departures from Venice
Ave Maria: April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, August 13, August 27, September 10, September 24, October 8, and October 22, 2016
Vita Pugna: April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3, September 17, October 1 and October 15, 2016

Skill Level

Easy, guided bike tour in Italy with daily distances from 17 to 34 miles. The tour is entirely on level ground. Much of the pedaling is along rivers and canals on tarmac bicycle paths or roads with a low volume of car traffic. It is anticipated that the boat will sail some of the way during breakfast or evening meal to make getting out of the towns easier or to shorten the stages. During the weeks in which departures are from Venice to Mantova, the daily program needs to be read in reverse order.

Where You’ll Stay

On board the VITA PUGNA, a Comfort class ship or the brand new AVE MARIA, a Comfort Plus ship.

What’s Included

  • 7 nights accommodations on board
  • Breakfasts, self-made packed lunches, and dinners
  • Aboard the Ave Maria, 3 course dinners
  • Detailed route descriptions & maps
  • Bus transfer: Ferrara-Zelo/Ferrara-Adria
  • Mid-week service of cabin cleaning and towel changes
  • Guided visits in Venice and Mantova
  • Visit of cheese factory + tasting of typical Grana Padano
  • Visit of Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum
  • Information pack
  • Tour guide (One guide per departure)
  • 27-speed hybrid bicycle
  • Harbor charges

What’s Not Included

Length8 days
From930 Rates
Print Tour

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Mantova to Venice Map

DAY 1: Individual arrival in Mantova
DAY 2: Mantova,  25 mi. (40 km).
DAY 3: Mantova - Governolo - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km)
DAY 4: Zelo - Ferrara - Adria, 31 mi. by bike + 38 mi. by bus (50 + 60 km).
DAY 5: Adria - Porto Viro - Chioggia,  25 mi. (40 km).
DAY 6: Chioggia - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km).
DAY 7: Venice, free day
DAY 8: Venice, departure following breakfast.

*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.

DAY 1: Arrival in Mantova.
Your cabins will be available from 4:30 p.m. The boat is moored at Porto Catena, just a short walk from the city-center. The meeting with the tour guide and the crew is scheduled at dinner-time, approximately 7 p.m.
Mantova is one of the most beautiful towns in Northern Italy as many worldwide know artists have left their masterpieces for us to enjoy, thanks to the famous Gonzaga family!

DAY 2: Mantova - round trip tour - 25 mi. (40 km)
This entire day is dedicated to the discovery of this wonderful city and its surroundings, dominated by the wealth and influences left by the Gonzaga family, who owned the city for over 400 years. Mantova was considered one of the most important cultural cities in the Renaissance and it still maintains a lot of the landscapes and the building that made it famous during that period. In the late afternoon, a local guide will lead you through the most known highlights of the town.

 DAY 3: Mantova - Governolo - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km)
A short cruise along the lush banks of the Mincio takes you 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,get on your bikes and follow the Po through Ostiglia (famed for its medieval fortress and floating mill) and on to the village of Bergantino. Here you visit the charming Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum. Finally, you reach Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.

DAY 4: Zelo - Ferrara - Adria, 31 mi. by bike + 38 mi. by bus (50 + 60 km)
Following breakfast you will start cycling towards Ferrara. Once you have reached the town, which earned the name of "city of bicycles", you will be enchanted by the historical center, still surrounded by the old city walls. You will enjoy a guided town tour. From Ferrara, a short bus transfer will bring you to Adria, an ancient Greek port, famous for trading amber coming from the Baltic. It's remarkable museum also bears witness to its Etruscan, Roman, and Venetian Heritage.

DAY 5: Adria - Porto Viro - Chioggia,  25 mi. (40 km)
An exhilarating day of discovery, alternating sailing and cycling  begins with a short cruise to 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, you then follow the Po-Brondolo waterway and reach the Venetian lagoon. Overnight stop is the bustling and colorful fishing port of Chioggia, known as “Little Venice”.

DAY 6: Chioggia - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km).
A morning visit to the fish market is recommended and if time allows you also climb up Chioggia’s millennial clock tower – the oldest in the world – for some breathtaking views. Then enjoy some island hopping in the lagoon itself by bike and boat, starting with our barge dropping us off on Pellestrina (home to the Ca’ Roman nature reserve); and continuing by public ferry for the short crossing to the Lido island. Celebrated by Thomas Mann (Death in Venice) and particularly fashionable with the artists and aristocracy of the Belle Époque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars. Finally, the barge takes you to the Venice.

DAY 7: Venice, free day
In the morning, discover the capital of the ancient "Serenissima Republic of Venice" After that you'll have time to soak up its timeless beauty or explore its Islands.

DAY 8: Venice
After breakfast and the customary goodbyes, free time for individual visits of Venice before returning home.


  1. Venice
  2. Venice, guided city tour in the morning, after which, free day
  3. Venice - Chioggia, 19 mi. (30 km)
  4. Chioggia - Porto Viro - Adria, 25 mi. (40 km)
  5. Adria - Ferrara - Zelo, 22 mi. by bike + 22 mi. by bus (35 km + 35 km)
  6. Zelo - Mantova, 31 mi. (50 km)
  7. Mantova, round trip tour, 25 mi. (40 km)
  8. Mantova, departure

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Customer Feedback

  • Jim Elkan 1 year ago

    What can I say?

    This was our 10th trip, I believe, with Pack and Pedal and it was outstanding! The Ave Maria was a beautiful boat; modern, clean and roomy. The three of us from Kansas City: Stanley, KartaPurhk and myself enjoyed the company of 27 others and it was a week of great riding, camaraderie and superb food. The crew of the Ave Maria: Tullio and , Luciano got the boat to where it needed to be safely and on time every day. The chefs: Vera and Erica prepared wonderful meals each day while catering to individual's specific dietary needs. Helmut, our bike guide was patient and knowledgeable. It's not easy herding 25-29 bicyclers safely each day from point A to point B and back to the boat each late afternoon. a "well done" to Helmut.

    The real highlight of the trip for the three of us was getting to meet Hennie for the first time when she visited the Ave Maria. What a delightful person she is!

    The trip exceeded all of our high expectations and we look forward to our European trip next year through Tripsite.

    Jim E.

  • P. Clayton 2 years ago

    In May of last year we embarked on yet another Bike and Barge trip with the assistance of your organization. We were on the great barge Ava Maria, Montova to Venice. We have travelled extensively over the last 40 years but have never had such a great experience as this. The trip was well planned led by a terrific tour director who was not only knowledgeable but great fun. The staff of the barge were exceptional providing all on board with a superb experience, great food and friendly service. As has been my experience with Tripsite in the past, my expectations were exceeded and given that we are now planning another adventure in France with of course Tripsite. Thank you for MAKING our vacation!

  • Bill Goss 2 years ago

    This was our first experience with an inclusive tour and we were a bit apprensive about the lack of freedom. No worries! It was a great trip and we would do it again. The small boat/group was key. Great food, excellent tour leader and first rate crew. We would not want to be in a larger group. Three cheers for the older and smaller boat!

  • Linda Wagner 2 years ago

    We took the Venice to Mantova tour in September, 2013. The AveMarie is a luxurious boat. We were very happy with our cabin and our accomodations. The crew was exceptional and went out of their way to meet any needs. Martina, our guide, was also exceptional. The food was excellent. The bikes were standard, sturdy hybrids, all in good repair. The roads and bike paths were 90% flat and easy but 10% harrowing because of traffic! Wear a helmet. The camaraderie made the trip special; I think the Girolibero crew gets credit for creating a sociable atmosphere that made the trip fun for everyone.

  • Bill Power 2 years ago

    We took Mantova to Venice tour Aug. 10th. The guide (Amermario) was top notch. The food was heavenly. The five person crew did everything possible to make us comfortable-including one unscheduled stop to pick up a rain soaked 30 riders! Ave Marie was super-including wi-fi!

  • Tom Schnell 2 years ago

    Our trip, Venice to Mantova April 27th 2013, was absolutely spectacular. What can I say, the venue, facilities, amenities, equipment, guides, cooks, etc ...all exceeded expectations. Our chief guide and host, the friendly and indefatigable Hein Hoefnagels, was superb in making a last minute route and program change due to the unexpected Po river springtime flooding issue.. A very fun time, meeting some great people, learning about and seeing many historical sites.. this truly was an unforgettable experience.. My Bucket List , instead of being reduced by one, has probably been 'added to' for a repeat. !!

  • Becky Thacher-Bell 3 years ago

    My husband and I went on the Venice to Montova trip September 2012 and had a wonderful trip. Our guide Fabio was fabulous and the food was so good, I was worried I'd put on a few pounds. But with all the biking, I think I lost a few. The barge was so comfortable and the crew did everything possible to make our stay comfortable. We loved the towns and the sights, especially Montova and Venice. Such fascinating country. The terrain was flat enough that the biking was very manageable. One day we did more than expected, about 45 miles and it was windy, but we made it with the great bikes. We are definitely planning on taking another bike and barge trip through Tripsite!

  • Alan Fahrenholz 3 years ago

    We loved the trip from Mantova to Venice. The crew on the Ave Marie was great. We convinced two other couples to join us this year since we had such a good time in the Netherlands last year. By the second day they were already wanting to plan next years bike/barge trip.

  • J. Brown 3 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed my barge and bike trip from Mantova to Venice in July of 2012. I would not change anything about my experience.

    The barge was very comfortable, and Juliano's food was excellent! The roads and paths we cycled on often allowed us to ride and chat alongside one another, which I liked because I was travelling by myself. The cycling was easy, but there were a few instances where we faced strong headwinds. The villages we travelled through were small in the beginning, but got larger as we approached the coast and Venice.

    The entire group interacted as they wished on board the barge and while cycling. The guests and the staff were friendly and fun. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip.

  • Hans and Lynn de Jongh 4 years ago

    Our group of 10 Canadian friends took this tour July 9-16 and we were met with a better-than-expected trip! Super staff, outstanding food and great accommodations aboard the Ave Maria keeps us talking about this amazing time we had. We'd highly recommend this tour - it was flat and very doable by any age! Tripsite is the best and we are planning our next excursion for 2013.

  • S. Gordon 4 years ago

    We were very impressed with the trip on the Ave Maria July 9 - 16, 2011 from Mantova to Venice. It far exceeded our expectations! We were amazed at the quality of the rooms and the fabulous food prepared by our chef Juliano! Our tour guides, Helmut and Martina, were incredibly knowledgeable and had many interesting facts to share with us each day as we went from town to town. The bikes were wonderful as well. With 32 riders, none of us had any issues with the mechanics of our bikes. No flat tires, no chain problems, no gear issues, etc. Even the panier bags were perfect for carrying our lunch, water bottles, cameras, swimming gear! Our group of friends were so delighted with this trip that we are planning our next one with your company to go to France in 2014! We found your staff to be very friendly and helpful. Thanks for making that leg of our trip so successful!

  • Sherrie Bennett 4 years ago

    We took the Mantova to Venice bike & boat trip in early July 2011.

    EVERYTHING about our trip was fabulous! We found the staff at Tripsite was awesome to work with and any questions we may have had... they were quick to respond. The boat....the Ave Maria was newly renovated and we thoroughly enjoyed our staterooms. The staff was terrific and was always available to interact and help throughout our whole trip. The food was delicious and we always looked forward to our dinner at the end of the day.:-) Our two cycling guides, Helmut & Martina were wonderful, helpful, informative & cheerful. The captain of the Ave Maria, Michele was engaging and helpful. The bikes were of superior quality and wonderful to ride. Our cycling trip with Tripsite surpassed any expectations we may have had. We have recommended Tripsite and this particular trip to many friends since returning. We had such a fabulous time that our group of 10 plus many extras will be booking another cycling and boat adventure through Tripsite in 2014!:-)

  • Venema's 2011 4 years ago

    We started the tour from Bolzano and were delighted that we did. Bolzano is an interesting place to stay a couple days before biking. Do not hesitate to do the "uphill" section on the 1st day. The towns and hotels for this part were well worth the time and the trip across Lake Garda was lovely. Finding our way out of Pescheria was a little challenging; the villages on the way to Montova were noteworthy. Be sure to give yourself enough time to see Montova. The guided/boat/bike portion was great though hot weather plagued us in early July. I recommend this trip. The food on the boat was fantastic and the finale in Venice was a great way to end the trip.

  • Patrick Mcn 4 years ago

    The bikes are comfortable and the pace is leisurely although the terrain is flat sometimes there are strong winds. The guides leave no one behind. The barge food is from the sea and lunch is in local towns, however, I usually made lunch from the breakfast menu... We did stop for coffee at local towns. I have only gone from Montova to Venice which I thoroughly enjoyed. Put your worries and concerns aside, you will enjoy the trip as much as this 72 year old did. Pat McN

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