Hotel Barge ATHOS - Barging in France -

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

Standard Classic Barge Cruise : Venetian Lagoon

Enjoy a barge charter aboard the Italian Hotel Barge La Bella Vita and cruise a variety of charming waterways of the Venetian Lagoon that promises a unique and magical cruising experience. The itinerary includes fascinating excursions that offer a real insight into the many cultures that have influenced the arts, architecture, and history of the region over many centuries.

Italian hotel barge La Bella Vita - itinerary map Barging in Italy

Sunday, Day 1 - Mestre to Burano

Guests are met at the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to La Bella Vita for a Prosecco welcome. We then set sail to cruise through the magnificent Giudecca Canal with outstanding views of Venice, before heading north across the lagoon to the little island of Burano. Time for a stroll ashore before dinner on board.

Monday, Day 2 - Burano to Sant Erasmo

This morning we tour Burano, the "Island of Lace". We see lacemakers and embroiderers at work and visit the Lace Museum, after which we wander through the streets of brightly colored houses. After lunch, we cruise to the island of Sant Erasmo, the peaceful and verdant "market garden" of Venice. Here we walk through the vegetable gardens and fields of artichokes to visit the Orto winery, the only one within Venice’s boundaries, for a tasting. Dinner on board.

Tuesday, Day 3 - Sant Erasmo to Murano and Alberoni

We take a morning cruise to the island of Murano, famed for its iconic glassware, to watch glassblowers at work, see the Glass Museum and visit the 11th century Cathedral of San Donato with its ancient mosaic floors. In the afternoon, we cruise over the lagoon, passing fishermen's huts on stilts, slat pans and mudflats to our peaceful mooring at Alberoni on the Lido island. The pretty village is flanked by pine woods and a sandy beach backed by high sand dunes and we can explore on foot or by bike. Dinner on board.

Wednesday, Day 4 - Alberoni to Chioggia

This morning we cruise south past the island of Pellestrina. There is the option to disembark and cycle along the sea wall about 6 miles before joining the barge at the southern end of the island, where we can also one of the impressive new lagoon entrance gates constructed as part of the MOSE project to stop Venice flooding. We cruise onwards to the southern end of the lagoon and Chioggia, city of Goldoni's plays. Here we visit the 18th century Church of San Domenico set on its own island, to see Carpaccio's St Paul, his last recorded painting and other works of art by Tintoretto and Bassano. We also admire the Piazzetta Vigo. After lunch, we enjoy a short tour of Chioggia's pretty canals in a traditional locally-built boat. Free time to wander before dinner at a local restaurant.

Thursday, Day 5 - San Lazzaro and the Lido

After breakfast and a possible early visit to the colorful fish market, we cruise northwards through the lagoon, stopping at the little island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni. This was the site of Venice's leper colony which in the 18th century, became a monastery, still occupied by Armenian monks today. We can stroll the peaceful cloisters and gardens, where peacocks wander, and visit the library, home to a precious collection of illuminated manuscripts. Rejoining the barge with lunch on board, we make the short cruise to the Lido Island, a narrow strip of land separating the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. The ambience here is very different to Venice. The architecture is "Liberty" style (the Italian version of Art Nouveau) and the sandy beach promenade generates a laid back atmosphere. This is the home of the Venice Film Festival and we can sense the glamour as we stroll or take a cycle ride along the avenues. Dinner on board.

Friday, Day 6 - The Lido to Venice

This morning we make our cruise to Venice, passing several lagoon islands including San Servolo, once a hospital for the Crusaders. After mooring on the waterfront outside the Naval Museum not far from St Mark's Square, we take a walk in the Castello district with a visit to the Cathedral of San Pietro and the Naval Museum. After lunch on board, there is a guided tour of the Doge's Palace, the magnificent palace that was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries and the home of the Doges, with also some time for shopping and taking in the atmosphere. Captain's Farewell Dinner on board and perhaps a final evening stroll to St Mark's Square.

Saturday, Day 7 - Venice to Mestre

We make our final early morning cruise from Venice to our mooring in Mestre. After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre.

Note: This is a sample itinerary and subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in reverse direction.

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