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Italy Bike & Boat: Venice to Mantua

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Explore two fabulous UNESCO World Heritage cities by bike and boat, traveling from Venice to the nature reserves outside Mantua.

Guided Bike & Boat

  • Daily Mileage: 6 - 29|
  • Biking: 0.75 - 3 hr|
  • Group Size: 24
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

11-day Bike Vacation + Air Package

$5,895

8-day Bike Vacation Only

$4,995

Per person, double occupancy

Italy Bike & Boat: Venice to Mantua

A unique combination of history and nature await you on this unforgettable Venice biking tour. By day, you’ll cycle on lightly traveled roads and bike paths from pastel-colored fishermen’s homes to Belle Epoch architecture and nature reserves. By night, you’ll relax on your floating home, a refurbished eco-friendly barge, as you glide past natural and cultural landmarks. The trip includes guided tours of medieval districts and Renaissance battlements, as well as visits to a carousel museum, a glass-blowing studio, and a cheese factory for a vacation that stimulates all the senses.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain on bike paths and roads through rural areas and on two Venice islands with little car traffic. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated waypoints for those who need assistance.

  • Daily Mileage: 6 - 29|
  • Biking: 0.75 - 3 hr|
  • Group Size: 24
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy stress-free cycling along quiet canals, a peaceful river, and through a tranquil nature reserve.
  • Experience the captivating grandeur of Venice as you cruise the city’s famous canals and lagoon.
  • Delight in the contrast between Belle Epoch architecture and colorful fishermen’s houses on a spin through two Venetian islands.
  • Watch a demonstration of the ancient art of glass-blowing on Murano Island.
  • Absorb the history of Ferrara and Mantua, both UNESCO-designated Renaissance cities, on a tour with local guides.
  • Sample delicious Grana Padano cheese, originally developed by monks in the 12th century at a local cheese factory.
  • Revel in the Carousel and Popular Entertainment Museum in the Strozzi Palace which is dedicated to itinerant folk shows.
  • Reward your cycling workouts with sumptuous dinners prepared by your chef aboard the Ava Maria Barge.

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

May73º/55º

Jun80º/62º

Jul84º/65º

Aug84º/65º

Sep75º/59º

Oct63º/50º

Average
Precipitation:

May3.5 in

Jun3.3 in

Jul3.6 in

Aug2.9 in

Sep2.9 in

Oct3.9 in

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
2 nights in Venice and 2 nights in Verona in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
7 nights aboard a European canal boat Check Check
15 meals: 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Road Bicycle (Aluminum alloy frame)

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Thu, Sep 2 to Sun, Sep 12 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Depart home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

A VBT representative holding a sign will welcome you just outside customs at the airport in Venice and will assist with your transfer by Venezia Taxi, a private water taxi, to the hotel. The 35-minute trip will bring you to the door of your centrally located hotel and you will have the rest of the day to explore the city and its dining options with help from the VBT City Information guide. Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. but the reception desk will gladly store your luggage while you see the sights of the city.
If you are going to be delayed for more than 15 minutes at the Lost & Found desk due to luggage problems, please call our transfer company at +39 328 23 89 661. You may also contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

We recommend that you purchase a multi-day transportation ticket (Venezia Unica City Pass) to travel by vaporetto.

Accommodation: Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice

After breakfast you can spend the day exploring Venice on your own. Check out time is 11:00 a.m., but you can store your luggage at the front desk. At 3:30 p.m., you will be transported by water taxi from the hotel to the boat which is moored on Giudecca Island. Your trip leaders, recognizable by their VBT clothing, will meet you in the hotel lobby.

At the dock you will meet the boat crew and have a chance to settle in to your berth. Later, everyone will gather for a welcome cocktail and an overview of the exciting week ahead, followed by a sumptuous dinner on board.

WiFi on board the boat: Dependable Internet access is available during the day in the common areas, but not in the cabins. If access to the Internet is critical to you during the night, VBT recommends you purchase your own bundle prior to your trip.

Ride with GPS: Due to the limited WiFi on board, VBT also recommends that you download your free VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to arrival on the boat if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your phone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is offered in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes, which will be distributed on tour.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Non-Biking Day: Board boat at 4:00 p.m. Your tour begins.

Awake in romantic Venice and enjoy a hearty breakfast aboard the boat which will be your home for the week. From the upper sun deck you can marvel at the stunning views of St. Mark’s Square and the fabulous churches and other monuments of Venice as you cruise to the Cavallino Peninsula. Your crew will identify the various islands as you head towards your first cycling adventure. The ride begins at Punta Sabbioni, where you will have a brief safety clinic before embarking on a warm-up ride with your trip leaders. Today’s relaxed route will travel along quiet, flat, paved trails, past vast scenic salt marshes and carefully tended vegetable gardens. You will see the ancient hamlet of Lio Piccolo, home to many species of birds. The hamlet is home to the 18th-century Palazzo Baldu which features a chapel and elementary school which were left behind by the noble family that once owned the island.

You will have lunch on board the boat and then return to Venice with a stop on Murano Island to visit a glass-blowing studio. Glass-blowing is an ancient art that was imported to Venice from the Far East, but it has been developed and refined to the point that Murano’s glassmakers were the leading artisans of the craft in Europe for centuries. In the factory, you can learn some of the techniques involved and watch skilled artists crafting samples for you. You will spend the rest of the afternoon on the island for independent exploration which can include a stop at the Glass Museum in Palazzo Giustinian to see samples dating back to ancient times. Your boat will return to Venice for the night with dinner on board featuring a specially chosen wine to accompany both the dinner and the sharing of stories from your first day of riding.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 21 km (12 miles)
Morning
Lio Piccolo Warm-up: 21 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride is a loop from our boat on quiet trails by salt marshes and the tiny village of Lio Piccolo which will give you a chance to get acquainted with your route notes and Ride with GPS and to get comfortable with the bicycle which will be your trusty companion for the rest of the trip.

After a hearty breakfast, your boat will set off for the island of Lido, crossing the old harbor of Malamocco en route. Today’s ride will cover two narrow islands – Lido and Pellestrina – which separate the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea.

In Lido you will start your journey by pedaling among the glamorous streets that straddle this barrier sandbar. Belle Epoque hotels line the roads of this prosperous island which hosts celebrities and other elites annually for the Venice Film Festival. From there, you’ll take your bikes aboard a ferry and breathe the salt air as you cross over to Pellestrina, where the atmosphere is decidedly more old-world. On this quiet, low-lying island, fishermen and gardeners live a peaceful existence with the skyline of Venice floating on the horizon. Your ride travels from village to village, all featuring views of the sea and the colorful homes for which this island is known. Bobbin lace is a local art, created by weaving cotton threads from a spool onto a round cushion called a tombolo and you may see women working their craft as you ride.

You will lunch independently at any of Pellestrina’s taverns, which are wonderful places to sample chicheti, Venetian small plates prepared with fresh fish from the lagoon. Delicacies include schie, or shrimp, eel, cuttlefish, mantis shrimp, and scallop, with vegetables picked from one of the gardens you may have passed earlier.

In the afternoon, you’ll return to the Ave Maria and cross to the island town of Chioggia which is known as “Little Venice.” Linked to the mainland by a causeway, Chioggia is a charming and often overlooked town but it is a true Italian gem. You’ll cycle past the picturesque San Domenico and Lombardo canals, following a maze of narrow calli, or alleyways, and bridges while admiring medieval churches and buildings which will transport you back in time. The Chioggia Cathedral dates to the 1620s, and the church of St. Andrew boasts a bell tower constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries, featuring the oldest and still working tower clock in the world.

Luciano, the caretaker of this former lighthouse, will accompany you to the top of the tower for an explanation of the amazing still working clock and magnificent views of the island and surrounding waters. Although the fish market is closed for the evening, you can look through the imposing stone-sculpted Prisca gate to view the multicolored stalls of one of Chioggia’s most important and ancient institutions. The market may be closed but the atmosphere is very much alive.

Tonight you’ll eat independently and you can choose between any of the local restaurants or simple osteria for your dining pleasure. Chioggia is very lively and offers a host of good cafes and restaurants, both on the main street and the narrow vaulted alleyways.

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 9 – 22 km (8 – 13 miles)
Morning
Lido Island: 13 km (8 miles)
Afternoon
Pellestrina Island: 9 km (5 miles)

What to Expect: Apart from climbing small low bridges, the ride is perfectly flat. On Lido, you will start your ride in the lively city center, surrounded by Art Nouveau buildings and you’ll end in the quiet southern tip called Alberoni which is named for the tall poplar trees that pointed distant fishermen to the entrance to the lagoon. On Pellestrina Island, most of your riding will be on a bike path, with the lagoon on the right and multicolored fishermen’s houses on the left. You will make the short trek between islands on a ferry which will accommodate your bicycle.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast

Your boat leaves the Venice lagoon bright and early this morning and you’ll savor breakfast as you cruise the side canals on the way to your destination.

Today your ride will cross the Adige River, the second-longest river in Italy. You will follow quiet country roads into the tranquil Po River Delta nature reserve, a spectacular expanse rich in flora and birdlife. Here, at the mouth of Italy’s longest river, fishermen’s stalls dot a bucolic landscape of vast lagoons, pools, and peaceful wetlands. You will be treated to a picnic lunch prepared by your chef and trip leaders before finishing your journey in Porto Viro where your boat is moored.

A lovely jaunt by boat will bring you to Adria. This gateway to the Po River Plain was important to ancient Greeks and Etruscans and gave the Adriatic Sea its name. You will be early enough for a stroll through the cobblestone streets and after today’s cycling, you needn’t feel guilty about stopping for a tasty gelato. In pre-Roman and Roman times, Adria was an important trade center and a river harbor town along a navigable branch of the Po. Amber was one of the precious stones imported from the Baltics and traded here in exchange for local food such as oil and wine. The town is home to a fascinating archaeological museum with its impressive collection of pottery and jewelry dating back to the Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and Celtic times. If you request one in advance, VBT can reserve a guided tour for you.

Dinner is served on the boat tonight.

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 15 – 44 km (9 – 26 miles)
Morning
Cavanella to Albarella: 29 km (17 miles)
Afternoon
Porto Levante to Porto Viro: 15 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: This morning’s ride from Cavanella d’Adige follows flat and paved terrain into the Adige and Po Rivers delta region and countryside with scenic fishing villages along the route. The ride is on paved roads except for one mile on a packed gravel path. The afternoon ride starts with a short ferry ride across Canal Bianco into Porto Levante and follows paved, flat country roads into the small city of Porto Viro, where you will board your boat. Remember to pack your sunscreen because there is very little shade on the route.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early this morning, you will cruise out of Adria along the Canal Bianco. After breakfast, you will disembark for a rewarding ride along a bike path to the bicycle-friendly city of Ferrara, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its beauty and cultural significance. Bikes are so prominent in this historic city that large swathes are closed to cars. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the charming cafes. Local culinary specialties include cappellacci di zucca, or dumplings filled with pumpkin and salama da sugo, a pork sausage cooked for hours in red wine and spices. You’ve earned the right to enjoy the local bread, coppia ferrarese.

Later, you will join a local guide for a walk through the Jewish quarter and medieval district, learning about the powerful House of Este which ruled the region from the city’s imposing castle and Ducal palace and transformed Ferrara into one of Italy’s most splendid Renaissance treasures. You’ll have time for some independent exploration of the charming, narrow alleyways or a walk along the high city walls which are the longest in Italy. A visit to any one of the many superb palaces is well worth the trip before taking a private coach to where your boat is moored.

With about 300 inhabitants, a picturesque arched bridge, and a quaint church, the small hamlet of Zelo is a charming setting for your onboard dinner. Zelo boasts a local pub with some of the best local craft beers, perfect for a post-dinner nightcap.

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 41 km (25 miles)
Morning
Bosaro to Ferrara: 41 km (25 miles)

What to Expect: Your cycling starts along the quiet country roads of Bosaro after which you’ll cross the Po River at Polesella, a spot which marks the separation between the Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions. From there, you’ll enjoy a 7-km (4.3-mile) spin on a bike path which was built on the Po River embankment. A newly paved bike path will take you on the next part of your journey from Francolino into the green heart of Ferrara where you’ll lunch independently. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy a guided one-mile walking tour in the city center before taking a private coach back to the Ave Maria.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning you will ride along easy country roads to Bergantino. Your visit to this small town wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the delightful Carousel and Popular Entertainment Museum in the town’s Strozzi Palace where perfectly working carousel models from the late 19th century have been preserved. A local expert will lead you through this magical and nostalgic world, pausing so you can admire wooden horses, musical calliopes, billboards, and other objects from fairgrounds and merry-go-rounds dating from medieval times to the 19th century. You’ll get back on your bike and head to a cheese factory to learn how Grana Padano is made and taste samples of this delicious local cheese which is similar in flavor and fame to Parmigiano Reggiano.

Enjoy the cheese but leave room for a picnic lunch provided by your chef to be enjoyed in the shade of tall poplar trees. Then, you’ll bicycle toward Governolo, where you will board your boat and enjoy a scenic stretch along the tranquil Mincio River. Its waters will lead you into the city of Mantua, one of the greenest and most beautiful Renaissance towns in Italy and the European Capital of Gastronomy in 2017. Your afternoon arrival will give you plenty of time to disembark and stroll the warrens of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, while stealing a peek at restaurant menus for a night of independent dining.

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 50 km (10.5 – 31 miles)
Morning
Le Calandre to Cheese Factory: 17 km (10.5 miles)
Afternoon
Cheese Factory to Governolo: 33 km (20.5 miles)

What to Expect: You will ride on country roads and the peaceful bike path which has been built on the left embankment of the Po River. The roads are flat and the rides are relaxing and far from car traffic, but remember your sunscreen because there is limited shade. In Governolo you’ll re-board your boat which leaves at 4:00 p.m. for Mantua.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, you’ll head out for a lovely cycling loop outside Mantua. A trio of lakes, or laghi, and vast nature reserves surround the city on three sides. Cycling along their shores, you will skirt the sylvan stretches of Bosco Fontana, the largest enclosed forest in the Po Valley. In August and early September, lotus flowers blossom in Lago Superiore. The plant was imported from the East in the early 19th century and now thrives here. Other flowers you might see along the way include white and yellow water lilies, as well as edible water chestnuts and lush reeds which are still used to make handmade brooms and chairs. You will return to the city center in time to enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes that line the narrow alleyways of Mantua. Be sure to sample the city’s famed torta sbrisolona, a streusel-like almond cake, for a crunchy dessert.

After lunch, you will join a local expert for a one and a half mile walking tour of Mantua, an outstanding Renaissance city of battlements, towers, churches, cupolas, and elegant squares. The city prospered during the 16th century under the Gonzagas family. They were patrons of the arts and champions of the new ideas that were revolutionizing the way Europe viewed the world. Your tour will include the Ducal palace with its magnificent courtyards, the Castle of St. George, and the incredible Camera degli Sposi, the “painted chamber,” richly adorned with frescoes painted by Andrea Mantegna in the mid 1400s.

This evening, you will celebrate the conclusion of your cycling week with a festive farewell dinner on board the Ave Maria.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 32 km (19 miles)
Morning
Mantua Loop: 32 km (19 miles)

What to Expect: Enjoy a quiet loop in the relaxing and green outskirts of Mantua, mostly on bike paths. This will be our last ride together since your afternoon will be spent on a guided walking tour of the city.

After breakfast, you say goodbye to your boat crew and trip leaders and take a 40-minute transfer to our Verona hotel.

Your local guide will be there to greet you and after a presentation on the sights of the city, will lead an orientation tour of Verona. You are free to spend the rest of the day exploring on your own with VBT’s City Information as your guide.

If you have chosen the independent post-trip extension to Verona, you will stay at the Hotel Giberti for two nights.

Accommodation: Hotel Giberti, Verona
Included Meals: Breakfast

Early this morning*, transfer to the Verona Airport for your departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated transfer time**.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Sat, Sep 4 to Sat, Sep 11 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

You are responsible for making your way to your boat on Giudecca Island outside Consorzio Cantieristica Minore at Fondamenta S. Giacomo 212/C. To get there, take the vaporetto to the Redentore stop. Several ACTV lines can bring you there and you can check the schedules when you buy your ticket. At Redentore, walk along the Fondamenta San Giacomo’s right bank (approximately 700 feet) until you reach Consorzio Cantieristica Minore Veneziana which is marked by a blue sign on a gate. Walk straight through the gate onto the dock until you arrive at boat parking and find your way to the pier where the boat is moored. The gate is open every day from 7:00 to 1:00 a.m. but if you arrive when it is closed, you can call a number on the gate to have it opened. Refer to the information listed in your final itinerary for your boat contact and telephone number.

Please note that we will not be able to welcome you on board until 4:00 p.m. The boat will remain moored in Venice overnight so don’t worry if you are delayed.

WiFi on board the boat: Dependable Internet access is available during the day in the common areas, but not in the cabins. If access to the Internet is critical to you during the night, VBT recommends you purchase your own bundle prior to your trip.

Ride with GPS: Due to the limited WiFi on board, VBT also recommends that you download your free VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to arrival on the boat if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your phone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is offered in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes, which will be distributed on tour.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Non-Biking Day: Board boat at 4:00 p.m. Your tour begins.

Awake in romantic Venice and enjoy a hearty breakfast aboard the boat which will be your home for the week. From the upper sun deck you can marvel at the stunning views of St. Mark’s Square and the fabulous churches and other monuments of Venice as you cruise to the Cavallino Peninsula. Your crew will identify the various islands as you head towards your first cycling adventure. The ride begins at Punta Sabbioni, where you will have a brief safety clinic before embarking on a warm-up ride with your trip leaders. Today’s relaxed route will travel along quiet, flat, paved trails, past vast scenic salt marshes and carefully tended vegetable gardens. You will see the ancient hamlet of Lio Piccolo, home to many species of birds. The hamlet is home to the 18th-century Palazzo Baldu which features a chapel and elementary school which were left behind by the noble family that once owned the island.

You will have lunch on board the boat and then return to Venice with a stop on Murano Island to visit a glass-blowing studio. Glass-blowing is an ancient art that was imported to Venice from the Far East, but it has been developed and refined to the point that Murano’s glassmakers were the leading artisans of the craft in Europe for centuries. In the factory, you can learn some of the techniques involved and watch skilled artists crafting samples for you. You will spend the rest of the afternoon on the island for independent exploration which can include a stop at the Glass Museum in Palazzo Giustinian to see samples dating back to ancient times. Your boat will return to Venice for the night with dinner on board featuring a specially chosen wine to accompany both the dinner and the sharing of stories from your first day of riding.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 21 km (12 miles)
Morning
Lio Piccolo Warm-up: 21 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride is a loop from our boat on quiet trails by salt marshes and the tiny village of Lio Piccolo which will give you a chance to get acquainted with your route notes and Ride with GPS and to get comfortable with the bicycle which will be your trusty companion for the rest of the trip.

After a hearty breakfast, your boat will set off for the island of Lido, crossing the old harbor of Malamocco en route. Today’s ride will cover two narrow islands – Lido and Pellestrina – which separate the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea.

In Lido you will start your journey by pedaling among the glamorous streets that straddle this barrier sandbar. Belle Epoque hotels line the roads of this prosperous island which hosts celebrities and other elites annually for the Venice Film Festival. From there, you’ll take your bikes aboard a ferry and breathe the salt air as you cross over to Pellestrina, where the atmosphere is decidedly more old-world. On this quiet, low-lying island, fishermen and gardeners live a peaceful existence with the skyline of Venice floating on the horizon. Your ride travels from village to village, all featuring views of the sea and the colorful homes for which this island is known. Bobbin lace is a local art, created by weaving cotton threads from a spool onto a round cushion called a tombolo and you may see women working their craft as you ride.

You will lunch independently at any of Pellestrina’s taverns, which are wonderful places to sample chicheti, Venetian small plates prepared with fresh fish from the lagoon. Delicacies include schie, or shrimp, eel, cuttlefish, mantis shrimp, and scallop, with vegetables picked from one of the gardens you may have passed earlier.

In the afternoon, you’ll return to the Ave Maria and cross to the island town of Chioggia which is known as “Little Venice.” Linked to the mainland by a causeway, Chioggia is a charming and often overlooked town but it is a true Italian gem. You’ll cycle past the picturesque San Domenico and Lombardo canals, following a maze of narrow calli, or alleyways, and bridges while admiring medieval churches and buildings which will transport you back in time. The Chioggia Cathedral dates to the 1620s, and the church of St. Andrew boasts a bell tower constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries, featuring the oldest and still working tower clock in the world.

Luciano, the caretaker of this former lighthouse, will accompany you to the top of the tower for an explanation of the amazing still working clock and magnificent views of the island and surrounding waters. Although the fish market is closed for the evening, you can look through the imposing stone-sculpted Prisca gate to view the multicolored stalls of one of Chioggia’s most important and ancient institutions. The market may be closed but the atmosphere is very much alive.

Tonight you’ll eat independently and you can choose between any of the local restaurants or simple osteria for your dining pleasure. Chioggia is very lively and offers a host of good cafes and restaurants, both on the main street and the narrow vaulted alleyways.

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 9 – 22 km (8 – 13 miles)
Morning
Lido Island: 13 km (8 miles)
Afternoon
Pellestrina Island: 9 km (5 miles)

What to Expect: Apart from climbing small low bridges, the ride is perfectly flat. On Lido, you will start your ride in the lively city center, surrounded by Art Nouveau buildings and you’ll end in the quiet southern tip called Alberoni which is named for the tall poplar trees that pointed distant fishermen to the entrance to the lagoon. On Pellestrina Island, most of your riding will be on a bike path, with the lagoon on the right and multicolored fishermen’s houses on the left. You will make the short trek between islands on a ferry which will accommodate your bicycle.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast

Your boat leaves the Venice lagoon bright and early this morning and you’ll savor breakfast as you cruise the side canals on the way to your destination.

Today your ride will cross the Adige River, the second-longest river in Italy. You will follow quiet country roads into the tranquil Po River Delta nature reserve, a spectacular expanse rich in flora and birdlife. Here, at the mouth of Italy’s longest river, fishermen’s stalls dot a bucolic landscape of vast lagoons, pools, and peaceful wetlands. You will be treated to a picnic lunch prepared by your chef and trip leaders before finishing your journey in Porto Viro where your boat is moored.

A lovely jaunt by boat will bring you to Adria. This gateway to the Po River Plain was important to ancient Greeks and Etruscans and gave the Adriatic Sea its name. You will be early enough for a stroll through the cobblestone streets and after today’s cycling, you needn’t feel guilty about stopping for a tasty gelato. In pre-Roman and Roman times, Adria was an important trade center and a river harbor town along a navigable branch of the Po. Amber was one of the precious stones imported from the Baltics and traded here in exchange for local food such as oil and wine. The town is home to a fascinating archaeological museum with its impressive collection of pottery and jewelry dating back to the Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and Celtic times. If you request one in advance, VBT can reserve a guided tour for you.

Dinner is served on the boat tonight.

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 15 – 44 km (9 – 26 miles)
Morning
Cavanella to Albarella: 29 km (17 miles)
Afternoon
Porto Levante to Porto Viro: 15 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: This morning’s ride from Cavanella d’Adige follows flat and paved terrain into the Adige and Po Rivers delta region and countryside with scenic fishing villages along the route. The ride is on paved roads except for one mile on a packed gravel path. The afternoon ride starts with a short ferry ride across Canal Bianco into Porto Levante and follows paved, flat country roads into the small city of Porto Viro, where you will board your boat. Remember to pack your sunscreen because there is very little shade on the route.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early this morning, you will cruise out of Adria along the Canal Bianco. After breakfast, you will disembark for a rewarding ride along a bike path to the bicycle-friendly city of Ferrara, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its beauty and cultural significance. Bikes are so prominent in this historic city that large swathes are closed to cars. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the charming cafes. Local culinary specialties include cappellacci di zucca, or dumplings filled with pumpkin and salama da sugo, a pork sausage cooked for hours in red wine and spices. You’ve earned the right to enjoy the local bread, coppia ferrarese.

Later, you will join a local guide for a walk through the Jewish quarter and medieval district, learning about the powerful House of Este which ruled the region from the city’s imposing castle and Ducal palace and transformed Ferrara into one of Italy’s most splendid Renaissance treasures. You’ll have time for some independent exploration of the charming, narrow alleyways or a walk along the high city walls which are the longest in Italy. A visit to any one of the many superb palaces is well worth the trip before taking a private coach to where your boat is moored.

With about 300 inhabitants, a picturesque arched bridge, and a quaint church, the small hamlet of Zelo is a charming setting for your onboard dinner. Zelo boasts a local pub with some of the best local craft beers, perfect for a post-dinner nightcap.

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 41 km (25 miles)
Morning
Bosaro to Ferrara: 41 km (25 miles)

What to Expect: Your cycling starts along the quiet country roads of Bosaro after which you’ll cross the Po River at Polesella, a spot which marks the separation between the Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions. From there, you’ll enjoy a 7-km (4.3-mile) spin on a bike path which was built on the Po River embankment. A newly paved bike path will take you on the next part of your journey from Francolino into the green heart of Ferrara where you’ll lunch independently. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy a guided one-mile walking tour in the city center before taking a private coach back to the Ave Maria.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

This morning you will ride along easy country roads to Bergantino. Your visit to this small town wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the delightful Carousel and Popular Entertainment Museum in the town’s Strozzi Palace where perfectly working carousel models from the late 19th century have been preserved. A local expert will lead you through this magical and nostalgic world, pausing so you can admire wooden horses, musical calliopes, billboards, and other objects from fairgrounds and merry-go-rounds dating from medieval times to the 19th century. You’ll get back on your bike and head to a cheese factory to learn how Grana Padano is made and taste samples of this delicious local cheese which is similar in flavor and fame to Parmigiano Reggiano.

Enjoy the cheese but leave room for a picnic lunch provided by your chef to be enjoyed in the shade of tall poplar trees. Then, you’ll bicycle toward Governolo, where you will board your boat and enjoy a scenic stretch along the tranquil Mincio River. Its waters will lead you into the city of Mantua, one of the greenest and most beautiful Renaissance towns in Italy and the European Capital of Gastronomy in 2017. Your afternoon arrival will give you plenty of time to disembark and stroll the warrens of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, while stealing a peek at restaurant menus for a night of independent dining.

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 50 km (10.5 – 31 miles)
Morning
Le Calandre to Cheese Factory: 17 km (10.5 miles)
Afternoon
Cheese Factory to Governolo: 33 km (20.5 miles)

What to Expect: You will ride on country roads and the peaceful bike path which has been built on the left embankment of the Po River. The roads are flat and the rides are relaxing and far from car traffic, but remember your sunscreen because there is limited shade. In Governolo you’ll re-board your boat which leaves at 4:00 p.m. for Mantua.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, you’ll head out for a lovely cycling loop outside Mantua. A trio of lakes, or laghi, and vast nature reserves surround the city on three sides. Cycling along their shores, you will skirt the sylvan stretches of Bosco Fontana, the largest enclosed forest in the Po Valley. In August and early September, lotus flowers blossom in Lago Superiore. The plant was imported from the East in the early 19th century and now thrives here. Other flowers you might see along the way include white and yellow water lilies, as well as edible water chestnuts and lush reeds which are still used to make handmade brooms and chairs. You will return to the city center in time to enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes that line the narrow alleyways of Mantua. Be sure to sample the city’s famed torta sbrisolona, a streusel-like almond cake, for a crunchy dessert.

After lunch, you will join a local expert for a one and a half mile walking tour of Mantua, an outstanding Renaissance city of battlements, towers, churches, cupolas, and elegant squares. The city prospered during the 16th century under the Gonzagas family. They were patrons of the arts and champions of the new ideas that were revolutionizing the way Europe viewed the world. Your tour will include the Ducal palace with its magnificent courtyards, the Castle of St. George, and the incredible Camera degli Sposi, the “painted chamber,” richly adorned with frescoes painted by Andrea Mantegna in the mid 1400s.

This evening, you will celebrate the conclusion of your cycling week with a festive farewell dinner on board the Ave Maria.

Accommodation: Boat Ave Maria
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 32 km (19 miles)
Morning
Mantua Loop: 32 km (19 miles)

What to Expect: Enjoy a quiet loop in the relaxing and green outskirts of Mantua, mostly on bike paths. This will be our last ride together since your afternoon will be spent on a guided walking tour of the city.

After breakfast, you will say goodbye to your boat crew and trip leaders as the tour comes to a close. You need to leave the boat no later than 9:00 a.m. and you can share a 40-minute transfer to VBT centrally-located Verona hotel. If you plan to spend another day in Mantua, your trip leaders will be happy to assist you and help you book a taxi.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Pre-Trip Extension - Venice

2 Nights From $495 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $395

  • With its labyrinth of narrow alleyways and canals, Venice is the perfect city for meandering and soaking up the local culture.
  • World-renown buildings including St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace are all within walking distance in this pedestrian-friendly city.
  • From old masters to modern art, the galleries and museums have something for all artistic tastes.
  • Take advantage of VBT’s local guide who will help you make the most of your stay.

Depart home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Once in the arrival terminal at the airport in Venice, Italy, please claim your luggage and proceed through customs. You’ll exit the sliding doors where you will be greeted by a VBT representative holding a sign who will take you to Venezia Taxi at the airport pier. A 35-minute ride on this private water taxi will bring you to your centrally located hotel in Venice. Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m., but the reception desk will gladly store your luggage if you are early.

At the hotel, our local expert will be available from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. to answer your questions and give a short orientation walk. The rest of the day is free to discover Venice and dine at any of the wonderful restaurants the town has to offer with the VBT City Information as your guide.

If you are delayed for more than 15 minutes at the Lost & Found desk due to luggage problems, please call our transfer company at +39 328 23 89 661. You may also contact Allianz Global Assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Accommodation: Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice

Explore Venice to your heart’s delight. The city is actually a collection of 118 islands in a shallow lagoon so a great way to explore is by water. A picturesque gondola, often with a singing gondolier, is a relaxing way to see the sites but you can also take a vaporetto, or water taxi to travel further and faster. The Grand Canal is the most famous waterway and the Rialto Bridge, the most famous crossing, but Venice has over 150 canals and 400 bridges to explore by boat, as well as on foot. We recommend that you purchase a multi-day transportation ticket (Venezia Unica City Pass) to travel by vaporetto which will take you to locations as varied as the islands of Burano and Torcello,

Please note: Italian museums are closed on Mondays.

Accommodation: Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice
Included Meals: Breakfast

Set out early in the morning to take in the picturesque atmosphere of St. Mark’s Square before the crowds arrive. Napoleon called this scenic spot “the drawing room of Europe.” Early morning is also a great time to visit St. Mark’s Basilica, one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture in Europe, and the Doge’s Palace where you can learn about the lives of Venetian Republic nobility. A contrast to the opulent setting is the Bridge of Sighs which leads to the former prison house. The bridge was named for the sighs uttered by the prisoners as they caught their last glimpse of freedom. While galleries such as Gallerie dell’Accademia carry the works of Italian old masters, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal hosts an exquisite collection of modern art in Ms. Guggenheim’s former home. Venice is a pedestrian-friendly city and your centrally located hotel will make it easy to access it all.

Accommodation:Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Post-Trip Extension - Verona

2 Nights From $245 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $145

  • Visit the Roman amphitheater in Piazza Bra, the third largest arena in Italy.
  • Stand beneath Juliet’s Balcony at a 13th century home in the city.
  • Marvel at the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore, Sant’Anastasia, Santa Maria Antica, and other Romanesque style churches.
  • VBT’s local guide will lead an orientation tour and provide tips to help you make the most of your stay.

Spend another day discovering Verona. Explore the remarkable Old Town, where “Juliet’s balcony” commemorates Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which was set in this romantic town. Visit the art galleries at the Palazzo della Ragione and the Castelvecchio fortress. You may also take a 40-minute train ride to Padua, a city renowned for its art and one of Italy’s undiscovered gems. The centerpiece of Padua is the Scrovegni Chapel, a 14th-century masterpiece reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel for its fresco-covered walls painted by the famed painter Giotto. The city center is a pleasure to stroll with its inviting arcaded streets and large and generous piazzas.

Accommodation: Hotel Giberti, Verona
Included Meals: Breakfast

Continue your exploration of Verona and its surrounding areas. If you enjoy soaking in natural hot springs, you might plan a spa day in the nearby villages of Montegrotto or Abano. A 30-minute journey will bring you to Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake and a scenic and cultural treasure. Another option is the hour-long train ride to Bologna, Europe’s second largest Old Town and home of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque monuments. Indulge your appetite by exploring the flavors and aromas of the new FICO Eataly World, the largest agri-food park in the world.

Accommodation: Hotel Giberti, Verona
Included Meals: Breakfast

Early this morning*, transfer to the Verona Airport for your departing flight**. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated transfer time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Included Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

11 days, includes round-trip international airfare , airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: From $745

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

8 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: From $445

Thu, Sep 2 - Sun, Sep 12, 2021

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$5,895

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Sat, Sep 18 - Sat, Sep 25, 2021

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Thu, Sep 30 - Sun, Oct 10, 2021

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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