Sunday, Day 1 Venice
Guests are met at the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre 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 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, it was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1996, but after a complete refurbishment of its spectacular interior, the opera house 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 centre and colourful 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 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 and cruise downstream, entering the Po River and mooring at Levante. Then we head to Verona for a delicious al fresco dinner at a local restaurant, followed by a night at the opera at the magnificent Roman amphitheatre, the Arena di Verona.
Thursday, Day 5 Zelo to Governolo
Our morning cruise to Zelo takes us past some delightful villages, farmsteads and quintessential Italian countryside. After lunch on board we take a guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the 14thC Estense Castle with its moat, drawbridges & 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 distinct opera house, opened in 1798 that is now a cultural hub for the present-day Ferrara. Dinner on board
Friday, Day 6 Governolo to Mantua
Our final cruise has a dramatic approach to Mantua, a Renaissance city with a captivating lakeside setting and home to Verdi’s opera Rigoletto. Mantua displays extraordinary neo-classical and baroque architecture, portrayed in the 14th century Ducal Palace housing 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
After breakfast, disembark La Bella Vita and transfer to the Best Western Hotel Bologna in Mestre
This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.