Itineraries, routes, travel tips Bike and barge in Italy

1 tour

In brief

From Mantua to Venice

The only itinerary in Italy that combines easy cycling with overnight stays aboard a riverboat.

Our Ave Maria and Vita Pugna boats navigate along the waterways of the north: from the Mantova Lakes and Mincio River they glide slowly on the Fissero-Tartaro-Canalbianco-Po di Levante waterway to the Venetian Lagoon.

From April to October, these boats offer an itinerary with bike stages from Mantua to Venice (and vice versa). In the winter months they are available to private groups for tailor-made programs.

The story

In 2007 we bought an old boat in Amsterdam, the Vita Pugna, and after an adventurous journey around Europe by river and sea, we brought it to the shipyard in Mantua. A series of “sold-out” trips began in 2008, with guests from all over the world. Also navigating with the Vita Pugna since 2011 is the Ave Maria, a 31-passenger eco-sustainable riverboat custom-built using the salvaged hull of a Po River dredge.

To discover

Art cities

Mantua, Ferrara and Venice are the best known: the boat-hotel is a perfect starting point for discovering their masterpieces of art and architecture. The itinerary also takes you to smaller towns, such as Adria, an ancient Roman port on the Adriatic (its archaeological museum is not to be missed), and Chioggia, a fishing town that is a fascinating web of alleys and canals.

Mantua Lakes and Mincio River Park

The Mincio River embraces Mantua, forming three lakes that make it look like a floating city, and gives rise to a natural area that connects the city to the southern shore of Lake Garda – you can bike through it on the famous Peschiera-Mantova bike path.

The blooming of lotus flowers is spectacular in midsummer, when Lake Superior is tinged with pink!

Po Delta and Venice Lagoon

The Po River, from the provinces of Ferrara and Rovigo, widens into a fan of waterways reaching the Adriatic Sea. Be prepared for sightings of flamingos, herons and other bird species. Arriving at the Sea, it opens to the horizon of the Venice Lagoon, interrupted only by fishing nets, briccole, salt marshes and, on clear days, the distant outline of the Dolomites.

Landscapes of the hinterland

Ave Maria’s river route traverses the Po Valley, with its wealth of production, culture and history. You’ll visit a cheese factory that produces the famous Grana Padano cheese, the unusual Bergantino Carousel Museum with carousels and amusement rides from the 1800s, and the tiny village of Zelo, which always gives a warm welcome to cyclists.


Bike and Barge Weeks (1 tour)

From April to October, our barges follow our riverside bike tourists as they enjoy easy rides between nature and art cities. Choose the departure date and the barge: the itinerary may be in the direction of Venice, or end in Mantua. In either direction, the intermediate berths and scheduled visits are the same.

Tailor-made bike and barge tours

From late March to early November, private groups can customize berths between Venice and Mantua, and add onboard services and/or private transfers to UNESCO Sites and art cities. In the winter months, the boats can become convenient floating hotels for exploring Venice, Mantua and northern Italy. Contact us for information.

The tour leader leads the way and is ready to solve any mishaps, but you will also have our number from Italy, which is available 7 days a week.
You will receive briefing materials with all the practical information, details on how to reach the meeting point, and answers to any questions you may have before you leave.
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