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Italy: Venice, the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon, the Bianca Canal and the Po Valley

Opera Themed Barge Cruise Itinerary

This 6-night adventure is a wonderful combination for what Italy is famous for... wonderful food and wine, Renaissance architecture and, of course, opera. La Bella Vita's Opera Cruise includes premium seat tickets at the magnificent Roman amphitheatre, the Arena di Verona.

Italian hotel barge La Bella Vita - itinerary map for river cruise in Italy
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Sunday, Day 1 - Venice, Verona

Guests are met at the designated meeting point in Venice and transferred to La Bella Vita for a Prosecco Welcome. Our late afternoon cruise takes us along the Giudecca Canal past some of Venice’s most famous monuments: the Chiesa del Redentore, the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and the Punta della Dogana to our mooring outside the Naval Museum. We then take a spectacular tour of the famous Doge’s Palace before a delightful first dinner on board courtesy of Chef Andrea. Perhaps an evening stroll in St Mark’s square before your first night on board.

Monday, Day 2 - Venice to San Pietro in Volta

After breakfast we visit the magnificent Teatro La Fenice, where the premières of operas by composers such as Rossini and Verdi were performed. The opera house was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1996, but after a complete refurbishment of its spectacular interior, it re-opened in 2004. After lunch on board, we cruise to Pellestrina where we have the chance to take a sunset stroll or cycle along the 18th century Istrian Sea wall. Dinner on board.

Tuesday, Day 3 - San Pietro in Volta to Taglio di Po

This morning we cruise to Chioggia, where we visit the picturesque town center and colorful fish market, as well as taking a stroll through the beautiful Piazzetta Vigo and admiring the beautiful cathedral. Lunch on board is followed by a gorgeous afternoon cruise through a nature reserve where guests may spot the likes of flamingos, heron, snipe, and other wildfowl. Our dinner this evening is hosted by a Countess at the beautiful 17th century Villa Ca’Zen, a private stately home where Lord Byron courted the Countess Giuccioli and wrote some of his best poetry.

Wednesday, Day 4 - Taglio di Po to Zelo

This morning we cruise from Taglio di Po to Adria, and after breakfast we drive to the Bagnoli Estate where we tour the Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti for a private tasting of their renowned estate-grown vintages. This winery has been supplying Venetian society for centuries. After the tasting we return to the barge at Bosaro. Following lunch on board we enjoy an afternoon cruise to Zelo, which takes us past some delightful villages, farmsteads, and quintessential Italian countryside. Dinner on board.

Thursday, Day 5 - Zelo to Governolo

After breakfast we take a guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the 14th century Estense Castle with its moat, drawbridges and marble balconies, and the Palazzo Municipale where we can see the very pretty Camerino delle Duchesse. Yet another highlight is our visit to Teatro Comunale, a distinctive opera house opened in 1798 that is now a cultural hub for present-day Ferrara. We return to the barge for lunch on board, after which we cruise to Governolo. Then we head to Verona for dinner at a local restaurant, followed by an amazing Opera performance (Carmen) at the Roman amphitheatre – Arena di Verona – where we have the best seats in the house.

Friday, Day 6 - Governolo to Mantua

Our final cruise offers a dramatic approach to Mantua, a Renaissance city with a captivating lakeside setting and home to Verdi’s opera Rigoletto. Mantua displays extraordinary neoclassical and baroque architecture, portrayed in the 14th century Ducal Palace, which encompasses some 15 gardens and courtyards, a museum, basilica, intricate frescoes, the Gallery of Mirrors and the exquisite Rivers Room. We explore the city further, finding “Rigoletto’s House” near the cathedral, then finally, we visit the intimate Teatro Bibiena, a delightful baroque theatre with a bell-shaped interior that opened with a concert by a 13-year-old Mozart in 1770. A wonderful finale to our Italian opera adventure. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.

Saturday, Day 7 - Mantua, Venice

After breakfast, disembark La Bella Vita and transfer to your drop-off point in Mestre or Venice.

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