Ave Maria


Casual Barge Biking Cruise in Italy

Mantova to Ferrara and Venice


The itinerary winds its way along the Mincio and the Po, penetrating into rural areas of the Italian countryside that are still uncontaminated,and ends in the warm embrace of the Venetian Lagoon. This territory has been reclaimed from the marshes for many centuries now and is frame by green pine-woods, which offer protection for numerous species of animals. The work of man overlaps nature in a constant game of roles: reclaimed land alternate


Venice Region of Italy

8 day barge and bike cruise

Departure From Venice


DAY 1 Venice

The cabins are available from 4.30 p.m. The meeting with the tour leader and the crew is scheduled at dinner-time, at 7 p.m.

DAY 2 Venice

In the morning a local guide will let you discover the capital of the ancient “Serenissima Republic of Venice”, which held sway over much of the Mediterranean (and beyond) for centuries. After that you have a lot of time to soak up its timeless beauty or explore its islands.

DAY 3 Venice - Chioggia (30 km)

Cruising out of Venice at a gentle pace, we start our bike and boat adventure on the Lido, the first of the two islands we explore today. Fashionable with the artists and aristocracy of the Belle Epoque, the Lido di Venezia is now home to the International Venice Film Festival and its galaxy of stars. A short island-hop takes us to Pellestrina, where we cycle towards the Ca’ Roman nature reserve, past the fishermen’s cottages and boats. Here, where we rejoin the barge and sail to Chioggia - a bustling and colourful fishing harbour known as “Little Venice”.

DAY 4 Chioggia - Porto Viro - Adria (40 km)

A morning stroll through Chioggia’s fish market is recommended and, time allowing, a visit up the millennial clock tower, the oldest in the world, for some breathtaking views. Our cycling resumes southbound, into the delta of the imposing Po. This unique wetland park is the prime reserve in Europe for herons and home to a colony of flamingos. We overnight in Adria, an ancient Greek port once close to the shores of the sea which bears its name, also renowned for its Etruscan and Roman heritage.

DAY 5 Adria - Ferrara - Zelo (35 km by bike + 35 km by bus).

After a short cruise we saddle our bikes and, following the Po through farmland and hamlets, we reach Ferrara. Under its overlords, the Este family, this ancient City State attracted influential architects and artists for centuries. A private bus takes us back to our floating hotel in Zelo, a sleepy village on the Canal Bianco, the waterway which runs parallel to the Po.

DAY 6 Zelo - Mantua (50 km).

After a few km on our bikes, we reach the village of Bergantino where we visit the charming Carousel and Street Entertainment Museum. Following the river through Ostiglia (famed for its medieval fortress and floating mill) and on to Governolo Lock. Once a vital staging post for local navigation, this is where the River Mincio flows into the Po, creating the largest inland basin in Italy. Leaving the Po behind, we reach Mantua through a magnificent navigation in the afternoon.

DAY 7 Mantua round tour (40 km).

An entire day dedicated to the discovery of this little visited cultural gem, its three picturesque “lakes” formed by the Mincio, and its surrounding countryside once a City State ruled by the Gonzaga family. In the late afternoon a local guide will lead you through the most known highlights of the town.

DAY 8 Mantua.

Departure after breakfast.


Mantova - Venice


Highlights: maze of the Delta - marshes and lagoons of the Po / Ferrera - old walled city / Venice - romantic city - Brenta canal - beautiful old Venetian villas

DAY 1 Mantov.

Individual arrival in Mantova, where you board the Ave Maria.

DAY 2 Mantova - Zelo (approx 50 km).

The boat takes us to Governolo, stronghold of the Mincio Pirates:  here, you take our bikes and start our ride. We cycle towards San Benedetto Po, home of an ancient monastery. We continue following the Po as far as Revere, summer residence of the Gonzaga dynasty. The last stretch of road brings us to the harbour of Ostiglia on the Fissero/Bianco canal, where you board the boat. A short stretch of navigation brings us to Zelo or Castelguglielmo, where you will moor for the night (overnight in Revere if the level of the Po is suitable).

DAY 3 Zelo - Ferrara - Adria (approx 50 km).

Departure for Ferrara: the historic centre is still surrounded by the old city walls. The great number of cycle paths and the widespread use of bikes have earned Ferrara the name of "the city of bicycles". At the end of the day, on board Ave Maria,  you reach Adria: the pearl of the Polesine, an ancient Greek port, famous for trading amber coming from the Baltic, which gave its name to the sea it faced (overnight in Ferrara if the level of the Po is suitable).

DAY 4 Adria - Porto Viro - Albarella (35/55 km).

We go deep into the maze of the Delta, an uncontaminated paradise between the marshes and lagoons of the Po, pedalling in the heart of nature. The destination today is Porto Levante, a small marine village of ancient traditions.

DAY 5 Albarella - Chioggia (approx 40km).

Ave Maria leaves us on the other bank of the Po di Levante.  We are approaching Albarella, suspended between water and land, as you pedal between the Delta and the mouth of the River Adige. From Cavanella d'Adige, the farthermost border between the provinces of Rovigo and Venice, you then follow the Po-Brondolo Waterway, which links the river to the Venetian lagoon. We will stay overnight in "Little Venice".

DAY 6 Chioggia - Venice (approx 30km).

Ave Maria brings us to the Oasis of Ca' Roman, a sandy islet surrounded by pine-woods. Pedalling along the lagoon, you reach Pellestrina: from here, you ride as far as the ferry landingstage. A short boat ride takes us back up the Lido, along the 'Murazzi', with a stop in Malamocco, the ancient harbour.  Overnight in the Venetian lagoon.

DAY 7 Venice Free day.

At your disposal you have a free ticket allowing you to use the boat transportation network and some suggested itineraries.

DAY 8 Venice. Departure.




Rate includes: 8 days, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, bed linen, bike rental, tour guide.

You can book this trip as a bike and barge trip or as a cruise. If you book a bike and barge trip, you can make a bike tour of 20 - 40 km per day, accompanied by an experienced guide.


2022 Rates

Ave Maria
Accommodations Rate Type Rate Amount
Stateroom per person 7 night 2390
Single Cabin 7 night 2665


Departure Dates (Saturday) Rate Type Route
Apr 02, 16, 30; May 14, 28; Jun 11, 25; Jul 09, 23; Aug 06, 20; Sep 03, 17; Oct 01, 15 7 night Venice to Mantua
Mar 26; Apr 09, 24; May 07, 21; Jun 04, 18; Jul 02, 16, 30; Aug 13, 27; Sep 10, 24; Oct 08, 22 7 night Mantua to Venice


2023 Rates

There are no rate records in the database for this ship: Ave Maria


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Ave Maria DP