River Cruises in Italy

Venice, the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon, the Canal Bianco and the Po Valley to Mantua

Italian River Cruises

When it comes to river cruises, Italy is a country seemingly designed to host them. Its beautiful canals and rivers pass through diverse landscapes and nature en route, from picturesque lagoon islands with their colourful houses, to wild beach dunes and pine woods with an abundance of birdlife.

These waterways were once the ancient trade routes used by the Romans and the early Mediterranean settlers before them, and cruises around Italy are perfect for gaining a real insight into the many cultures – including Roman, Etruscan, Istrian, Byzantine and of course Renaissance – which have influenced the arts, architecture and history of the region over many centuries.

La Bella Vita Map

Throughout the season the 20 passenger La Bella Vita provides Italian river cruises that encompass the romance and architecture of Venice as well as the captivating lakeside setting of the Renaissance city of Mantua. Venice is, of course, the crowning jewel of most Italian river cruises, but Mantua, in the central northern area of the country, has also been (and still is) a hub of art, culture and music for centuries. The route inland takes you along the River Po and the Bianco Canal through the Po Valley.

Delicious seafood, local culinary specialities, fine wines and attentive service complete the experience of this fairytale adventure, and explain the appeal of our boutique Italian river cruises. Luxuriating in a friendly and relaxing boat environment, travellers have an opportunity for a unique perspective on some magnificent Italian cities.

La Bella Vita is the perfect vessel aboard which to embark in one of our cruises around Italy and to immerse yourself in Italian Renaissance culture. When it comes to river cruises, Italy is indeed hard to beat!

Our Hotel Barge in Italy

La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita is a first-class, 20 passenger river cruiser that cruises the Venetian Lagoon and Po Valley in Northern Italy between Venice and Mantua from March to October

Opera Cruises

Opera Cruises are available on a number of departures, subject to ticket and hotel availability. Opera cruises includes one night’s stay (pre-cruise) in a 4 star hotel, one extra dinner and premium seat tickets to watch a performance of an acclaimed opera in the magnificent Roman amphitheatre, the Arena di Verona. Opera Charters are available in July and August subject to availability (Supplement Applies on all Opera Cruises). Confirmed dates and performances below:

August 10 – August 17, 2019 –  Puccini’s “Tosca”

Arena di Verona


A Day in the Life aboard La Bella Vita

We hear from a variety of the La Bella Vita Crew to see just what life aboard our Italian vessel is like Read More

Venice like a Local – By Giulia Giorgetti, Tour Leader aboard La Bella Vita

Giulia tells us just why life in Venice aboard a hotel barge is so special to her Read More

Wine Appreciation Cruises in Italy

Sip the week away aboard La Bella Vita as you indulge in Italy's finest wines and cruising scenery Read More

The Medieval Magic of Ferrara

Medieval History, Byronic Poetry and beautiful 14th Century architecture abound in the UNESCO city of Ferrara Read More

The Most Romantic Destinations for a Canal Barge Holiday

From Venice to Paris and Amsterdam to Champagne, spend this Valentine’s Day exploring these beautiful destinations from the peace and seclusion of the water. Read More

Discover Byron’s Po at Villa Ca’Zen

Italian river cruises along the main branch of the River Po afford the opportunity to visit Villa Ca'Zen, one of Lord Byron's inspirational romantic haunts. Read More