Day 4: Zelo - Ferrara - Adria, 31 mi. by bike + 37 mi. by bus (50 + 60 km)
Day 5: Adria - Po Delta Nature Reserve - Pellestrina Island, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 6: Pellestrina Island - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 7: Venice, free day
Day 8: Venice, departure following breakfast
Mantova is one of the most beautiful towns in Northern Italy as many worldwide know artists have left their masterpieces for us to enjoy, thanks to the famous Gonzaga family! Benvenuti a Mantova!
Day 2: Mantova - round trip tour - 21 mi. (35 km)
This entire day is dedicated to the discovery of this wonderful city and its surroundings, dominated by the wealth and influences left by the Gonzaga family, who owned the city for over 400 years.
Mantova was considered one of the most important cultural cities in the Renaissance and it still maintains a lot of the landscapes and the building that made it famous during that period.
In the late afternoon, a local guide will lead you through the most known highlights of the town.
Day 3: Mantova - Governolo - Zelo, 32 mi. (50 km)
After breakfast, on board, you navigate from the "lakes" of Mantova and cruise through the lush wetlands that lead to Governolo Lock, where Mantova's Mincio River flows into the Po.
From here, by bike, you follow the broad sweeps of the levee towards Ostiglia, renowned for its medieval fortress and fierce fighting in 1945, as the Allies drove Hitler's forces back.
Bergantino, home of the distinctive Museum of Fairground Rides and its collection of street organs, all expertly restored (and thunderous!).
This village is also in the heartland of Grana Padano, the arch-rival of Parmesan. A visit to the local cheese factory, sampling some well seasoned Grana, is a must-do.
You meet the barge in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.
Day 4: Zelo - Ferrara - Adria, 31 mi. by bike + 37 mi. by bus (50 km by bike + 60 km by bus) Following breakfast, you will start cycling towards Ferrara. Once you have reached the town, which earned the name of "city of bicycles", you will be enchanted by the historical center, still surrounded by the old city walls.
You will enjoy a guided town tour. From Ferrara, a short bus transfer will bring you to Adria, an ancient Greek port, famous for trading amber coming from the Baltic. It's a remarkable museum that also bears witness to its Etruscan, Roman, and Venetian Heritage.
Day 5: Adria - Po Delta Nature Reserve - Pellestrina Island, 25 mi. (40 km) After a short ride on board, you cycle into the delta of the life-giving Po. This unique wetland is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a sizeable colony of flamingos. Weather permitting, as you continue towards Chioggia, you can also enjoy a stop at a beach and a dip in the Adriatic - not forgetting a hot savory piadina! Chioggia is also known as "Little Venice", a colorful fishing hub. The overnight takes place on the island of Pellestrina, just in front of Chioggia.
Day 6: Pellestrina Island - Venice, 19 mi. (30 km) Venice beckons, but first another world altogether: Pellestrina, the first of two islands you traverse today – a humble and tranquil fishing backwater, picturesque as ever with its cottages, boats, and nets. A short island-hop by ferry transfers to Lido. Fashionable in high society ever since the Belle Époque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars.
After rejoining the barge, you will enjoy a leisure cruise in front of St Mark’s square to the final destination. After dinner, you can savor Venice at night, now free of the crowds and at her most romantic: Benvenuti a Venezia!
Day 7: Venice, guided walking tour and free time A guided walking tour of Venice begins around 11 am and lasts approximately 1.5 hours. It begins in St. Mark square and continues towards the bigger "sestiere" of the city, Castello.
You will visit Campo Santa Maria Formosa where you can experience a characteristic market and then a city hospital and large gothic church in Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Later, you will go to Campo Santa Marina and to the Rialto Bridge. During this tour, the guide will explain these sites from the outside, no entrances are planned.
I guess I always knew this… but forgot?
As we prepare to leave on vacation the energy in the house is a mix between excitement and dread. You know the anticipation? The expectation ! And all the things you forgot.
I take a breath and lean in to my suitcase. I don’t know why I fret. The few things I pack can be washed and reworn!
If Covid taught us nothing it taught us sweat pants can last a week if handled carefully! Two weeks in Italy requires comfort clothes and something a little stylish… but wait, I live on Cape Cod!
We have completed most of the requisites. The note to the Dog sitter, the walk about with the gardener, the cleaned out refrigerator… but then it dawns on us… what about the storage on our phones?
TONIGHT. Tonight we will be deleting everything. Sorry, but it’s true.