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La Bella Vita - Wine Appreciation Cruise in Italy

Venice to Mantua


Sunday, Day 1 Venice

Meet at the *designated meeting point and transfer to La Bella Vita in the port of Venice, where a glass of Prosecco awaits us. Late afternoon cruise along the Giudecca Canal to our mooring outside the Naval Museum. Dinner will be served on board with a selection of wines, followed by an evening stroll to St Mark’s Square where you enjoy a glass of wine at the I Corrazzieri bacaro.

Monday, Day 2 Venice to San Pietro in Volta

We cruise on a private boat to the delightful, little-known island of Mazzorbo for our tasting at the very special wine estate of Venissa with its medieval walled vineyard. We return to La Bella Vita for lunch then a late afternoon cruise to Pellestrina along the Canal of the Orphans, past interesting islands such as San Giorgio Maggiore with its church by Palladio, San Clemente, Santo Spirito and Poveglia with their brightly coloured houses and painted fishing boats before leaving the Lido en route to Pellestrina where we moor in San Pietro in Volta. Dinner on board.

Tuesday, Day 3 San Pietro in Volta to Taglio Di Po

After a stroll or a bike-ride along the 18th century Istrian sea wall, we cruise to the Venetian city of Chioggia. Chioggia is home to one of the most important fish markets in Italy. The fishing harbour is home to the majority of Italy’s fishing fleets and the vast wholesale fish market serves the local and international market. The lively, colourful market building houses around 30 fish stalls. Here you’ll see fishmongers selling the locally caught catches, of sea cicadas (a delicious crustacean), sole, sea-bass, black sea bass, scallops, anchovies and sardines, which are believed to be particularly healthy due to the local shallow waters. Fish from all over the world is also sold here on a wholesale basis with frozen, conserved and smoked as well as fresh fish being available. Our chef will walk us round the market and make his choice for our lunch. This afternoon we chug along the canal through a nature reserve where we should see colourful flamingos and other wildlife. Dinner this evening will be ashore in the beautiful 17th century Villa Ca’Zen in Taglio di Po. We will be kindly hosted by the owners of this private stately home where Lord Byron courted Countess Giuccioli and wrote some of his best poetry.

Wednesday, Day 4 Taglio Di Po to Adria

Morning cruise, leaving the river and entering the Canal Bianco, to Adria. After lunch, we visit the beautiful Renaissance gardens of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti. The villa was the project of the famous architect Baldassare Longhena (1598-1682). The monumental complex is one of the most significant in the Veneto for size and beauty. The villa is also a wine-estate, whose wines we will of course taste. Dinner on board.

Thursday, Day 5 Adria to Trevenzuolo

Morning excursion with guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the14thC Estense Castle with its moat, drawbridges, marble balconies and sumptuous apartments, and the Schifanoia Palace with its fabulous 15thC frescoes. We also see the cathedral façade with its sculpted images described as an Illustrated Bible. Return to the barge for an afternoon canal cruise past villages and farmsteads to Trevenzuolo for dinner on board.

Friday, Day 6 Trevenzuolo to Mantua

This morning we depart for the beautiful medieval town of Soave, famous for its dry, still wines. What this tasting will show is that the Garganega grape, often with some help from a bit of Chardonnay or some new French oak, can make profound white wines packed full of flavour and interest. We then rejoin the boat in time for lunch and have the afternoon to explore Mantova. Those opera lovers amongst you will of course be familiar with the story of the Duke of Mantua from Rigoletto. The Palazzi, fine architecture and squares reflect the wealth of the Dukes of Gonzaga. The architecture of the city neo-classical and baroque architecture is splendidly portrayed in the 14th century Ducal Palace, set in 15 gardens and courtyards, a museum, basilica and theatre. The palace has intricate frescoes, a Gallery of Mirrors and an exquisite Rivers Room and houses an impressive 12,000 paintings and sculptures. The town is also famous as the birthplace of Virgil, and of artists Mantegna and Donatello. We will enjoy more wonderful food and wines this evening at the “Captain’s Farewell Dinner”.

Saturday, Day 7 Mantua

After breakfast, passengers disembark for transfers back to the *designated drop off point.
*Wine themed cruises are charter only. This sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise is in the reverse direction. **Various pick up and drop off points are avaiable for charter groups.
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