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Italy Bike & Boat: Mantova to Venice - Vita Pugna

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.9 Read 14 reviews
  • Two nights on-board in Venice, that most romantic of cities
  • Exploring Venice, Ferrara and Mantova, jewels of the Italian Renaissance
  • The tranquillity and birdlife of the Po Delta Nature Reserve
  • Authentic regional cuisine, both simple and refined
  • Easy cycling on flat cycle paths and quiet country lanes
Experience Venice, Mantova and Ferrara, each a jewel of the Italian Renaissance, on an easy going bike and boat cruise from Mantova to Venice. Cruising from Venice through the Po Delta Reserve you will experience the tranquillity, nature, beauty and birdlife of Northern Italy in a unique way. Your adventure begins in the “undiscovered” city of Mantova (Mantua). The Gonzaga family ensured that this medieval and renaissance city remains one of the artistic, cultural and musical hubs of northern Italy. On day three you jump on your bikes, alternating between bike and boat as we make our way to Venice. En route you will discover Ferrara, a beautiful city, half mediaeval, half Renaissance and the Po Delta Nature Reserve. A UNESCO World Heritage site made up of vast wetlands, woodlands and forests, which is home to over 300 species of birds including the pink flamingos at the Salina di Comacchio, the old salt works. Our final day of biking takes us island hopping from Chioggia, a bustling and colourful fishing harbour known as little Venice, through the Venice lagoon to Venice. Your adventure ends with two nights on-board in Venice. You will explore Venice with a local guide who will help you discover Venice, a city of timeless beauty. Take in St Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, the Torre del Orologio, the Bridge of Sighs or just relax with a cappuccino and watch the world float by. Trips depart every Saturday from Mantova on either the Ave Maria, a premium boat with a capacity of 40 guests or Vita Pugna, a traditional Dutch barge that sleeps 21 guests. Our floating hotels are feature fantastic food, comfortable cabins, great service and large public spaces. You can choose to cycle either with a guide as part of the group or on a self-guided basis with the help of our detailed route books. Your bike and boat trip includes 7 nights on-board in ensuite double/twin cabins on a full board basis, bike hire, guided or self guided cycling and guided tours of Venice and Mantova.
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What To Expect

The perfect introduction to cycling in Italy. Ideally suited to beginners this bike and boat cycle route follows flat cycle paths and quiet roads. Great boats, wonderful food and fabulous cities and sights along the way.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.


Bike and Boat | A combination of cycling and cruising or sailing, your overnight accommodation will be on boat or barge style accommodation.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 10 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Foodie Adventures


Grade & Terrain

This trip is graded easy. The cycling is on flat tarmac cycle paths along rivers and canals or quiet country roads. Daily distances vary between 30 and 55 km. The boat is moored at night and typically sets sail after breakfast, meeting up with the bikes in the afternoon. Some parts of the itinerary are undertaken by boat, for example to allow easier access onto cycling paths, or simply to enjoy the cruise through the Venice lagoon.


The program has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero-Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantova to the Adriatic Sea. Issues with high and low water, as well as logistic obstacles can modify some of the daily stretches or overnight stays. These decisions are taken by the boat’s captain.

Guided or Self-Guided: You can choose to bike either on a self-guided or guided basis at no extra charge. The detailed directions and maps supplied with your info-pack offer you the option of either cycling independently or with the rest of the group, following the Tour Leader. When booking this bike and boat tour, please specify your chosen option (i.e. Guided or Self-guided).

Accommodation Information

You will spend each night on the Vita Pugna barge in your very comfortable cabin. Your boat is always docked at night and only sails during the day.

Vita Pugna

The Vita Pugna is a comfortable, romantic dutch barge with a maximum capacity of 23 guests in 10 standard twin cabins. All cabins are air-conditioned and are equipped with comfortable low twin beds (bed sizes are 1,90/2 m x 0,75/0,80 m), en-suite facilities, hair-dryers (on request), a complimentary courtesy kit and a safety box. Cabins have traditional portholes, which can be opened for fresh air. Enjoy delicious meals in the spacious air-conditioned lounge/restaurant and a refreshing drink upon arrival on the sundeck.

Single Cabins and Solo Cyclists

Single cabins are available, although a supplement is payable. This trip is available to solo cyclists and is perfect as there are plenty of people to chat with every day.


This trip is operated on a full board basis (breakfast, dinner and a self-made packed lunch) with all meals included from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8. Coffee, tea and other hot drinks on board are included. Beverages are not included, the boat sells a good selection of wine and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

In Italy, they know a thing or two about pots and pans, and on-board catering is simple but subtle, with a good selection of local wines and excellent service. The chefs boast plenty of experience and, in the words of our clients, the food alone is worth the trip.

Here are two sample menus:

1- Linguine with asparagus, rare roast beef with fresh rocket leaves and stuffed tomatoes, Venetian mixed salad, tiramisu.
2- Freshly caught seafood in wine and herbs, seabass meunière with baby potatoes, fennel and orange salad, chocolate and cherry mousse.

  • 7 x Overnight in a comfortable cabin
  • Full Board
  • English-speaking tour leader onboard
  • Guided tour of Venice and Mantova
  • Bike Rental including helmet
  • Bus transfer Ferrara to Zelo / Ferrara to Adria
  • Harbour charges
  • Detailed information pack, route description and maps
  • Visit to cheese factory, with tasting of Grana Padano
  • Local support and 24/7 emergency support from our office
  • Travel to Mantova / from Venice
  • Personal Expenditure
  • Ticket for public transportation in Venice and lagoon
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • E-Bike Rental
  • Additional nights

When To Go

Trips start in Venice every Saturday between late March and mid October on alternate boats. Peak season (June-September) does book up well in advance and please contact us as soon as possible so that we can advise on the latest availability.

The boat’s journey will cover 3 Italian regions: Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Veneto. Generally you will find mild temperatures in spring and autumn, while in summer (July-August) the weather is definitely hotter and humid with refreshing rain showers every now and then. Always make sure to carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen and a sunhat on hot days.

Getting to the Start

By Air:

Both Venice and Mantova are well served by many airports of Northern Italy: Venice (VCE), Treviso (TSF),Verona (VRN), Bergamo (BGY), Milano Malpensa (MXP), Milano Linate (LIN). Verona is the closest airport to to Mantova so if possible you may wish to consider flying into Verona and out of Venice.

By Railway and Car:

Mantova is situated on the A22 Highway Brennero–Modena, only 50 km south of Verona. By train it is connected very frequently to the railway station of Verona (journey: 45 min.) Venice is situated on the A4 highway and on one of the principal railway lines, which links Venice to the most important Italian cities. The journey Venice–Mantova (or opposite) is covered by train in approx. 2,5 hours.

Your pre-departure information pack has detailed information on how to reach the start/end of the trip including maps, timetables etc. so that you can plan your travel well in advance.


Bike Rental: 27-gear Shimano Deore unisex bikes in appropriate frame sizes. They are puncture-proof, fully serviced and equipped with a trip computer, sidebag, water bottle, and padlock. Additionally, Self-guided cyclists are supplied with a map holder/front bag (1 per bike) and a repair kit (1 per couple). It is possible to bring your own bike but due to space and safety restrictions, only a limited number of clients’ bikes can be accepted on board upon request. Helmets are also included in the total cost. Electric bike hire is available at an additional cost. 

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Day 1: Arrival Mantova & Embarkation Day 2: Circular ride from Mantova 22 miles / 35 km Day 3: Cycle Mantova to Zelo 31 miles / 50 km Day 4: Cycle Zelo to Adria 31 miles / 50 km Day 5: Cycle the Po Delta Nature Reserve 25 miles / 40 km Day 6: Cycle Lido & Pellestrina Islands to Venice 19 miles / 30 km Day 7: Discover Venice Day 8: Disembark & Onward Travel

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