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.
Departures from Mantova
Ave Maria: April 1, April 15, April 29,
May 13, May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 16, September 30, October 14, 2017
Vita Pugna: April 8, April 22, May 6, May 20, June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29, August 12, August 26, September 9, September 23, and October 7, 2017
Departures from Venice
Ave Maria: April 8, April 22, May 6, May 20, June 3, June 17, July 1, July 29, August 12, August 26, September 9, September 23, October 7, and October 21, 2017
Vita Pugna: April 15, April 29, May 13, May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, September 2, September 16, September 30, and October 14, 2017
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.
- Accommodations for 7 nights on board
- Breakfasts, self-made packed lunches, and 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 unisex touring bicycle
- Harbor charges
What’s Not Included
- Museum entrance fees
- Ferry Ticket transportation in Pellestrina (approx. €9)
- Bicycle protection
- Trip insurance
Extra nights in hotel possible in Venice, Mestre, or Mantova.
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 by bus)
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, guided walking tour and free time
A guided walking tour of Venice begins around 11am and lasts approximately 1.5 hours. It begins in St. Mark square and continues towards the bigger "sestiere" of the city, Castello. You will visit Campo Santa Maria Formosa where you can experience a characteristic market and then a city hospital and large gothic church in Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Afterwards, you will go to Campo Santa Marina and to the Rialto Bridge. During this tour, the guide will explain these sites from the outside, no entrances are planned. However, the guide may decide to adjust the schedule and sites depending on weather and requests from the group.
DAY 8: Venice
After breakfast and the customary goodbyes, free time for individual visits of Venice before returning home.
**Due to organisational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the tour. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistic obstacles such as officially ordered - previously not announced - repair work on locks or bridges can modify some of the daily stretches or overnight stays and may even require a transfer by bus. These decisions are at the sole discretion of boat captain or tour guide.
VENICE TO MANTOVA:
- Venice, free day
- Venice - Chioggia, 19 mi. (30 km)
- Chioggia - Porto Viro - Adria, 25 mi. (40 km)
- Adria - Ferrara - Zelo, 22 mi. by bike + 22 mi. by bus (35 km + 35 km)
- Zelo - Mantova, 31 mi. (50 km)
- Mantova, round trip tour, 25 mi. (40 km)
- Mantova, departure
Mantova to Venice Boats + Barges
Ave Maria Italy Comfort Plus Class Boat The Ave Maria was launched in 2011. This Italian boat was totally rebuilt in order to meet even the highest expectations. The boat was completely redesigned by a renowned architectural firm. Its shapes, colors and materials were chosen carefully in order to create a warm, inviting and sophisticated atmosphere.
Vita Pugna Italy Comfort Class Boat The Vita Pugna is a romantic Dutch barge which has been sailing since 2008. She has 21 guests cabins with comfortable low twin beds and en-suite facilities. They also offer the convenience of attractive, traditional portholes, which can be opened for fresh air. The corridor is air-conditioned. The sundeck has plenty of seating where you can enjoy the passing scenery.