From Venice to Mantua, enjoy a unique cruise through the heart of three Italian regions. The region of Veneto opens its doors and invites you to discover Venice, famous Saint Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace, the official residence of Venetian dukes. Lombardy welcomes you next with its breathtaking and varied panoramas. You’ll visit unique cities such as romantic Mantua and Cremona, Claudio Monteverdi’s and Stradivarius’s birthplace. Your trip ends with the region of Emilia-Romagna and its traditional cuisine: do not miss out on a tour of Parma and Cremona complete with a tasting of authentic cheese and ham! Wrap up your Italian adventure with an enchanting stay in Milan and Lake Como.
Cruise through the heart of the Italian regions
Learn about the abundance of history of Venice
Discover the region of Veneto, its treasures, arts and traditions
This morning, two excursions are offered: CLASSIC: Guided tour of Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Square.
You’ll discover Saint Mark’s Square and its famous basilica (exteriors) and take a tour inside Doge’s Palace, the official residence of Venetian dukes and the seat of the government until 1797. The current palace dates back to the 14th century and is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world. A trek to the top of the Golden Staircase brings you to massive works by Tintoretto and Veronese and gives you access to the antechambers and a magnificent view from the balcony.
DISCOVERY: Following the footsteps of Casanova in Venice to Doge’s Palace and its hidden passageways.
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was born in Venice in 1725. Both his parents were actors, and he was the first of six children in the family. He entered the University of Padua at age twelve and graduated five years later with a degree in law. Over his lifetime, he was a lawyer, soldier, violinist, courtier, economist, philosopher, writer, and of course, a lover who got into sexual escapades resembling operatic plots. Your guide will fill you in on all the details of his titillating life, including a darker period where he was imprisoned in Doge’s Palace and his daring escape. Even today, Casanova and his lusty reputation remain a legend in itself. At the end of the tour, you can return to the boat at your own pace.
This afternoon, join an excursion for both packages: The Venetian Lagoon and its islands. The Murano glassmakers retreated to the island of Murano to help keep their production techniques a secret. Burano instills a feeling of quiet and meditation as you walk along its docks lined with colorful homes. One of the most sought-out items on the island is handwoven lace that dates back to before the exploration of the New World.
Enjoy a free evening to explore Venice on your own.
Day 3: Venice | Chiogga | Vicenza | Porto Viro | Rovigo
Cruise to Chioggia, the departure point for an excursion for both packages: A guided tour of Vicenza. Vicenza is the epitome of gorgeous Italian landscapes, art, food, and wine. The most beautiful buildings in the city are found around the Piazza dei Signori. Here, you can take in the gorgeous facade of the Teatro Olimpico, which opened in 1585 and contains the oldest standing stage set still in existence. The theater was the final design by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and is part of the sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city. As you enjoy your tour, the ship will cruise to Porto Viro(1). For those who decided not to join the excursion, you will be transferred from Chioggia to Porto Viro(1). Enjoy some free time in Chioggia.
Return on board in Porto Viro and spend the afternoon cruising towards Rovigo.
Spend the morning cruising to Torretta.
In the afternoon, two excursions are offered: CLASSIC: Visit Verona and its amphitheater or the Giusti Gardens. Leave by coach from Torretta and head to Verona, the “City of Love” made famous by Shakespeare’s legendary tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Get to see the outside of Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta) and the balcony where she stood when Romeo declared his love. Verona encapsulates 2,000 years of history from an architectural, urban, and artistic point of view. The amphitheater, the historic symbol of the city, is a fantastic example of its longevity and influence. (If the amphitheater is closed and in July and August, you'll visit the magnificent Giusti Gardens.)
DISCOVERY: Take a bike tour of Verona and visit the Giusti Gardens. You’ll be transferred by coach from Torretta to Verona, where numerous possibilities to explore the city await you. Often overshadowed by neighboring Venice, Verona possesses an impressive artistic heritage and many cultural diversions. What better way to explore the city than on two wheels? Glide along its streets and lanes lined with unique houses and romantic hideaways. You’ll then visit the Giusti Gardens, one of the city’s marvels. This magnificent Italian garden contains age-old trees, gargoyles, fountains, and grottoes with ancient inscriptions. After your tour, return on board in Valdaro.
Your ship will begin to cruise early in the morning to Mantua.
Join an excursion for both packages: A guided tour of Mantua, where the House of Gonzaga ruled for almost 400 years. Although Mantua is not well known, it is one of the most artistically rich and romantic cities in northern Italy. Visit the Palazzo Ducale di Mantova (Ducal Palace - closed on Mondays) which overlooks the city center. Built between the 14th and the 17th centuries by the noble House of Gonzaga, the property comprises many buildings such as the Castel di San Giorgio which was designed as a defensive structure aimed at protecting the heart of the town and subsequently converted into the main residence of the Gonzaga family. You’ll also visit the Camera degli Sposi (“bridal chamber”), known for its frescoes executed by Andrea Mantegna as a celebration of the Gonzaga family. Then reach the historic center of the city where you’ll visit the Rotonda di San Lorenzo and the Basilica of Sant’Andrea.
You’re free to do as you please in the afternoon.
Or enjoy an optional tour of the Ferrari Museum in Modena (not included in packages). Car lovers will not want to miss this chance! The museum focuses on the life and work of Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Ferrari sports car brand. Their website says it best: “The Museo Enzo Ferrari is more than just a museum. It is a spectacular immersive experience that combines a dizzying mix of unique ingredients.Visitors not only get to admire the stunning cars displayed in the futuristic 2,500 square metre main pavilion but are also treated to a spectacular audio-visual show to tell the magical story of Enzo Ferrari’s 90 years.”
Join an excursion to Cremona and Parma (including lunch). A stroll through the historical center of Cremona reveals its hidden artistic and architectural treasures. Within the superb medieval square, take in the immensity of the duomo and tower before visiting a violin-maker’s workshop. You'll then head to Polesine Parmense and stop at Fratelli Spigaroli(2) to visit the cellars where they cure the famous Culatello ham and Parmigiana cheese. In the afternoon, go to Parma—located in the confines of the Lombardy and Emilie-Romagna Regions—to indulge in art, music history, and food! Parma is in one of Italy’s most emblematic areas, and its castles and ancient churches inspire dreams of yesteryear. Visit the pink-marble Baptistery, which contains some amazing frescoes representing the life of Christ. The frescoes on the dome of the cathedral are also exceptional.
Enjoy breakfast on board this morning before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. Hit the road for Milan (an approximate 2-hour drive), and upon our arrival mid-morning, you’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the city to get an overview of what it has to offer. Dynamic, trendy Milan also contains old-fashioned charm, monuments, quaint neighborhoods, and a veritable architectural and artistic heritage that stands out on its own in sublime Italy. Have lunch in a local restaurant. The afternoon will be dedicated to discovering the historic center, including a visit to the cathedral. The vast, Gothic-style cathedral took five centuries to complete and is covered with white and pink marble. The roof is adorned with openwork pinnacles and spires crowned with sculptures overlooking the city. The soberer inside is impressive in its grandeur: it can hold up to 40,000 people at one time. Dinner and accommodations in a 3-star hotel LS in Milan or Lake Maggiore.
Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Head to Como for a guided tour of the city. Built along the banks of a calm lake, Como is an invitation to rest and relaxation. Visit the remarkable cathedral, which was built over a period of 400 years. The interior contains important tapestries and paintings, mainly dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Have lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you'll take the Brunate funicular railway to the summit, where you’ll have a great view of the lake and city below. Return to Como and enjoy a boat tour of the lake. After the excursion, return to Milan by coach. Dinner and accommodations in a 3-star hotel LS in Milan or Lake Maggiore.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!