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La Bella Vita - A Luxury Hotel Barge Between Venice & Mantua

Venice 7 nights Prices on request

Traverse the historic waterways of northern Italy from the splendour of Venice to the Renaissance city of Mantua, including tranquil countryside, historic towns and exceptional art. There is no better way to explore Venice than from the water, and the 20 passenger La Bella Vita will spend a couple of days in the city itself, before gliding past the smaller islands of the lagoon to the Roman city of Chioggia, which resembles a smaller, unspoilt Venice. From here she travels through the delta of the River Po, home to flamingos and wild birds, and up the Canal Bianco, visiting the Etruscan town of Adria, Renaissance Ferrara and local vineyards. Arriving in lakeside Mantua, there will be time to explore the magnificent Palazzo Ducale with its vast collection of art including works by local residents Mantegna and Donatello. From Mantua you will return to Venice for your flight home. However, if you would like to extend your stay to include one of the other historic towns of northern Italy; Padua, Vicenza or Verona, speak to one of our experts.

If you travel between June and August don’t forget to ask about tickets to an opera performance in Verona’s famous Arena – see back page for details of the special opera cruise.

This itinerary is available between late March and October, but we can offer Kirker clients exceptional value for money with savings of £650 per person on selected dates in April and May.


Cruise Highlights

• Tour of historic Venice, The Naval Museum and the Pavilion of Gondolas
• Cruise on the Canal of the Orphans past picturesque lagoon islands
• Tour of Chioggia with its Roman, Etruscan and Byzantine history
• Dinner ashore at the 17thC stately home Villa Ca’Zen
• Private visit to the wine cellars of Villa Widmann-Borletti
• Visit Mantua’s Ducal Palace and gardens, or the Doge’s Palace in Venice

What's included

...when you travel with Kirker

  • Return flights
  • Private water taxi transfers from the airport to your hotel
  • One night accommodation with breakfast at a 4* hotel in Venice
  • Private water taxi transfer to Piazzale Roma
  • A six night cruise between Venice and Mantua including all meals, drinks and excursions
  • Optional tickets for an opera performance at the Verona Arena available on request (prices from £50 per person, subject to availability)
  • Private transfer to Venice airport

The Kirker Difference

Arranged by us exclusively for our customers...

Guaranteed entrance ticket to the Doge's palace

The stunning 'Palazzo Ducale' was the residence of the Doges and is the richest symbol of Venetian cultural, military, political and economic history. The tickets will allow you to avoid the lengthy queues and gain access to the Museo Correr and the National Archaelogical Museum. If you have visited the Doge's Palace before, we would be delighted to provide tickets to the Guggenheim or Accademia Galleries instead.


  • Day 1 - Arrival in Venice

    Fly to Venice where you will be met by a Kirker representative and transferred by water taxi to your hotel in the centre of the city.
  • Day 2 - Board La Bella Vita

    Guests are met at Piazzale Roma in Venice and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to La Bella Vita for a Prosecco welcome. An afternoon cruise along the Giudecca Canal past some of Venice’s most famous monuments: the Chiesa del Redentore, the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and the Punta della Dogana to our mooring outside the Naval Museum. Then time for a stroll to St Mark’s Square and a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace before dinner on board.
  • Day 3 - Castello & Biennale

    Guided walking tour to Castello District, perhaps discovering some hidden parts of the city of Venice: the gardens of the Biennale Exhibition of Modern Arts, Palladio’s Church of San Pietro in Castello and the Venetian Ships Pavilion, an annex of the Naval History Museum Venice, housing vessels of historical importance including ceremonial barges and warships. Late afternoon cruise to Pellestrina which separates the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, along the Canal of the Orphans passing lagoon islands with their ancient monasteries, painted fishing boats and tiny churches. Time perhaps for a walk or cycle ride along the 18th century Istrian sea wall before dinner on board.
  • Day 4 - The Venetian Lagoon

    After breakfast, we cruise to Chioggia, city of Goldoni’s plays. Here we visit the 18th century Church of San Domenico set on its own island, to see Carpaccio’s St Paul, his last recorded painting and other works of art by Tintoretto and Bassano. We also admire the Piazzetta Vigo and visit the colourful fish market. There will also be the opportunity to enjoy a short tour of Chioggia’s pretty canals in a traditional locally-built boat, before re-joining La Bella Vita. Passing through a nature reserve with flamingos and occasional heron, snipe and other wildfowl, we travel upriver to Taglio di Po for dinner ashore hosted by the owners at the beautiful 17thC Villa Ca’Zen, a private stately home by the river where Lord Byron courted the Countess Giuccioli and wrote some of his best poetry.
  • Day 5 - The Bianco Canal

    This morning we join the Bianco canal and cruise to Adria, an ancient Etruscan town where we visit the Archaeological Museum. After lunch on board, we drive to the Bagnoli Estate to tour the Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17thC Villa Widmann Borletti to enjoy a private tasting of their renowned estate-grown vintages. This winery has been supplying Venetian society for centuries. Afterwards, we rejoin La Bella Vita moored at Zelo. Dinner on board.
  • Day 6 - Ferrara

    Zelo to Governolo Morning excursion with a guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the Schifanoia Palace, renowned for its fabulous 15thC frescoes. We also admire the exterior of the Estense Castle and its moat and visit the magnificent cathedral with its façade of sculpted images described as an illustrated Bible. Return to the hotel barge moored in Trevenzuolo for an afternoon canal cruise past villages and farmsteads to Governolo and dinner on board.
  • Day 7 - Mantua

    Governolo to Mantua Our final cruise has a dramatic approach to Mantua, home of the poet Virgil, artists Mantegna and Donatello and a captivating lakeside setting. Mantua displays extraordinary neo-classical and baroque architecture, portrayed in the 14thC Ducal Palace housing some 15 gardens and courtyards, a museum, basilica and theatre. The intricate frescoes, Gallery of Mirrors and exquisite Rivers Room and 12,000 paintings and sculptures all create a Grand Finale to our Italian Renaissance adventure. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
  • Day 8 - Departure

    After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Venice airport for the flight home.

Included Hotels


Venice, Italy, Europe

Ideally located between St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge, the Splendid’s contemporary design offers clients an alternative to the traditional Venetian decoration found at other hotels in the city.

Staff Reviews

A Canal Cruise from Venice

By Barbara Janicka, 29 January 2020

The name of the hotel barge I stayed on recently was La Bella Vita and true to its name, it was indeed a beautiful few days of my life. Although I have visited Venice many times before, this was the first time I have departed by water – surely the traditional way to travel onwards from Venice. I enjoyed staying at the lovely Hotel Ai Cavalieri in the centre of Venice, before escaping the…

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Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.