From the river Po to St. Mark's Square
There’s hardly any other region in Italy offering such ideal activities for those who love the water as well as cycling in order to get to know the wonderful surroundings. The bike trails wind along the rivers Mincio and Po. Dive into the largely untouched nature, into swamps existing for several centuries yet, surrounded by the green charm of the pine woods; here, natural watercourses, minuscule channels and fishermen’s huts hide in the reed. Towns that seem to have escaped from fairy tails like the fantastic Chioggia, often surnamed “Litte Venice”, Ferrara, meeting point for many cyclists, the magnificent islands Pellestrina and Luido and Venice, the “City of Water”, are waiting to be discovered by you. During this discovery trip, you will be hosted by the Vita Pugna. The boat, that has by the way just been renovated, will accompany the daily cycling stages in a relaxed pace, giving you the possibility to spend a few hours on board instead of cycling the whole distance. Each night, the tour guide will offer to discuss the route for the next day with you. Thus, you will always be well-prepared for the next stage and if you wish so, the tour guide will even accompany you by bike. The daily routes lead completely over lowlands. With the intention to arrange especially the ways out of urban areas in an even more enjoyable way, parts of it will be accomplished by boat during breakfast in the morning or during supper at night.
MS Vita Pugna
Originally, the Vita Pugna was a Dutch river cruiser, completely redesigned for its service in Italy in 2005. Its 11 cabins are equipped with two beds arranged next to each other, bathroom, toilet and shower. The board restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere. The sundeck serves as storage for the bikes over night.
1. day Arriving in Mantua
The train connections from Venice to Mantua are excellent (2,5 hours, 10-15 Euro). Embarkment at 4.30 p.m.
Tour meeting at 7 p.m.
2. day Round trip Mantova 40 km
Today you will cycle through the town of Mantova and its surroundings. Mantova is one of the most beautiful towns in northern Italy where many artists left their works.
3. day Mantova - Zelo 50 km
You'll go comfortably by boat to Governolo, to the fort of the Mincio pirates. Finally, up on the bikes and away! You'll cycle on the Po Bike Trail to Ostiglia with its medieval castle ruins. A nice bike route along the Canale Bianco leads you to the anchorage of Zelo.
4. day Zelo - Ferrara - Adria 50 km
Today you will visit the famous city of Ferrara. Its center is still surrounded by the antic city wall. After the visit of the old town of Ferrara you will go by bus to Adria. This old greek habour is famous for the trade with amber from the Baltic Sea.
5. day Adria - Porto Viro - Chioggia 40 km
You will leave the ship in Porto Viro. Marvellous trails surrounded by water and land between the Po-delta and the mouthing of the Adige will guide today’s route. The course of the Po-Brondolo leads you straight into the heart of Chioggia, bearing its surname “Little Venice” with plenty of pride. A relaxed walk around town is just as worthwhile as visiting the fish market at sunrise.
6. day Chioggia - Venice 30 km
What an experience! Today, the Vita Pugna takes you to the oases of Ca Roman, a sandy island covered with pine woods. From the upstream islands Pellestrina and Lido, home of the renowned film festivals, you will cycle to the isle of Giudecca, close to St. Mark's Square.
7. day Venice
Fantastic, a whole day in Venice! Discover the historic centre, observe the gondoliers and enjoy the famous St. Mark's Square.
8. day Departing from Venice
After breakfast, you will debark from the Vita Pugna.
For this tour special cancellation fees are valid:
The itinerary of the tour may be changed by the captain of the vessel due to heavy weather conditions or nautic specifics.
We do not recommend to bring your own bikes because the vaporetti (water busses) in Venice don't carry bikes. The transport of the bikes from Piazzale Roma to the island Giudecca costs 130 euros approx. for 2 bikes.
Depending on the arrival date the tour starts either in Mantova or in Venice:
Direction Mantova - Venice:
06.04., 20.04., 04.05., 18.05., 01.06., 15.06., 29.06., 13.07., 27.07., 10.08., 24.08., 07.09., 21.09., 05.10., 19.10.2019
Direction Venice - Mantova:
13.04., 27.04., 11.05., 25.05., 08.06., 22.06., 06.07., 20.07., 03.08., 17.08., 31.08., 14.09., 28.09., 12.10.2019
Depending on the arrival date the tour starts either in Mantova or in Venice:
Direction Mantua – Venedig:
04.04., 18.04., 02.05., 16.05., 30.05., 13.06., 27.06., 11.07., 25.07., 08.08., 22.08., 05.09., 19.09., 03.10., 17.10.2020
During season 2020 the tour is a little different on day 5. & 6.
Direction Venedig – Mantua:
11.04., 25.04., 09.05., 23.05., 06.06., 20.06., 04.07., 18.07., 01.08., 15.08., 29.08., 12.09., 26.09., 10.10., 24.10.2020
Individual tours: Here you decide when and with whom you would like to travel. We provide you with detailed tour documents and practical planning tips, and you enjoy our all-in, worry-free package with separate luggage transport throughout your tour.
Guided tours: You can simply get on your bike and enjoy a group holiday (8–20 participants). Your tour guide will take care of everything, and your luggage will be transported separately.
This overview shows you the grade of difficulty for our tours:
In the case of our original Velociped tours, we are the tour operator. We organise and accompany these tours personally.
So that you have an even bigger selection to choose from, we also cover additional routes in collaboration with long-standing partners. With these Velociped partner tours, we are the tour broker.
Prices are per person.
11.04. – 22.08.2020
29.08. – 17.10.2020
bookable additional nights
bookable additional services
- 7 overnight stays with breakfast
- lunch packages and supper on board (drinks are not inclusive)
- bedding and towels
- luggage transfer
- tour guide
- tour information and detailed maps
- bus transfer Ferrara-Zelo or Ferrara-Adria
- guided city tour in Mantua and Venice
Worth knowing about your trip with the Vita Pugna
Below please find more information about your bike trip. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us by phone: 0049 - (0)6421-886890.
How to reach Venice and Mantova
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)
Mantova is situated on the A22 Highway Brennero – Modena, only 50 km south of Verona. There is a parking space available approx. 1 km away from the ship.
In Venice you can leave your car in public garages in Venice Mestre with connection by train and water bus to the ship.
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.
Navigation on rivers and canals
The programme has been planned to feature navigation along the Fissero/ Bianco canal, which runs parallel to the Po and connects Mantova to the Adriatic Sea. A few weeks in the year, when the waters of the Po are propitious, the barge will be allowed to navigate along the Po river.
This means that the some of the overnight stays will be modified.
High and low water issues, as well as logistic obstacles can modify some of the daily stretches or embarkation points. These decisions are taken by the boat captain.
The tour is entirely in the low lands and the daily cycling stages vary from 30 km to 55 km. Much of the pedalling is along rivers and canals on tarmac cycle paths or roads with a low volume of car traffic. It is envisaged that the boat will sail some of the way during breakfast or evening meal to make getting out of the towns easier or to shorten the stages.
Different frame sizes of unisex bikes with 27-gears Shimano Deore will be available on board. They are fully equipped with 1x side-bag, 1 water bottle, 1 map holder/front bag, 1 padlock per bike and 1 repair kit each couple.
Due to high transportation costs of the bikes in Venice and logistic issues it is strongly advised not to bring own bikes.
If you will use your own private bike you have to pay in Venice for the water taxi a fee of 130,- Euros for the way from the station to the pier.
Guided and self guided tour
This tour offers the chance to choose each day if pedalling alone or with the whole group, following the tour leader. Each client can anyway take advantage of a very detailed route description.
Extra costs which are not included in the price
A possibly applicable city tax is not part of the travel price and therefore has to be paid at the hotel locally.
The ferry boat trip to Pellestrina (9 euros per person) is not included in the price.
plan MS Vita Pugna
7 day hotline service
In case of chain breakdown, flooding or other bad surprises that makes a continuation of your tour impossible: no problem, we also work during weekends and you can reach us 7 days a week in case of emergency.
Passport and visa requirements, health regulations
For EU citizens, there are no special passport or visa requirements and no health formalities to be considered for this trip.
The tour price already includes the statutory insolvency insurance. In addition, we recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance upon receipt of your travel confirmation in order to protect yourself against financial disadvantages in the event of travel cancellation, interruption of travel, illness or accident.
The Duke's Palace is a series of buildings built between the second half of the 12th century and the middle of the 17th century,residence as well as symbol of the power of the Gonzaga family.
The whole body is composed of about 500 rooms and extends over an area of roughly 34,000 square metres.
The most outstanding artists of every time, called here by the Gonzagas, partecipated in rising the magnificence of their place.
The meeting between Giulio Romano and Federico II Gonzaga, and ensuing commission to build Palazzo Te is evocatively described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists.
When Giulio came to Mantua in October 1524, the marquis provided him with a house, showered him with gifts and, after giving him one of his favourite horses, rode with him to the Te island. Here Federico charged Giulio to renovate the existing stables to “build a small residence to which he could retire sometimes to feast, or dine for pleasure”. Although the original intention seems to have been fairly modest, Vasari tells us that when the marquis saw Guilio’s beautiful model, he immediately ordered him to start construction of the palazzo.
The purpose of the building is also clearly expressed in an inscription in the chamber of Psyche: this is a Palazzo for free time and enjoyment, for the honest leisure of the prince, whose energy is restored amid the peace and calm. Palazzo Te was often used by the Gonzaga family to receive and honour important guests, as is the case of the visit by emperor Charles V, who stayed at the Te on two occasions, in 1530 and 1532. Henri III, king of France, was received here in 1574.
Navigation lock Governolo
Right in the centre of the village, where the river Mincio flew till the 1980s, there are the remains of the lock, probably built in 1190 by the engineer Alberto Pitenitno, as part of the works to reorganise Mantua's lakes.
Castello Estense Ferrara
In Ferrara in 1385, a dangerous revolt convinced Niccolò II d’Este of the need to erect mighty defences for himself and his family thus the Castello di San Michele was built, a fortress erected against the people.
Its imposing proportions, its moat, its drawbridges and its towers date back to that remote period. An elevated covered passageway, which still exists, joined the military building to the marquises’ Palace, today Palazzo Municipale.
The cathedral of Ferrara dates from the 12th century and bears witness to all the historical periods of the city. The outstanding façade, divided into three sections, was begun in Romanesque style, still visible in the lower part.
Parco delta del Po
The Regional Park of the Po Delta of the Emilia Romagna region was set up in 1988 through a special Regional Law (Regional Law 27/88) and is part of the system of the protected areas of Emilia Romagna. The park is divided into six “stations” around the southern area of the Po Delta, whose northern part belongs to the Veneto Region, along the coast of Ferrara and Ravenna and near Argenta. In 1999 the northern part of the territory was included in the Unesco site as World Heritage “Ferrara, city of the Renaissance and its Po Delta”.
The city of Chioggia was found in the ancient world. The Romans created an artificial canal, formerly known as Fossa Clodia. Chioggia got municipal law in the 11th century.
Basilica San Marco and Campanile Venice
To build St. Mark’s Church, Venice brought the spiritual and material heritage of Byzantium to the West.
The Greek cross plan stands on a structure which in the longitudinal nave has basilica architectural motifs: the vertical arm of the cross is greater than those of the transepts and the altar is in the apse area. Above the cross are five cupolas, according to the eastern model, as a symbol of God’s presence.
Organisation of the space is rich in evocations that are not found in other Byzantine churches. The interior has a unitary sequence subdivided into individual spatial orchestrations to which gold background mosaics ensure continuity and the church’s special way of being.
A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Doge’s Palace is an impressive structure composed of layers of building elements and ornamentation, from its 14th and 15th century original foundations to the significant Renaissance and opulent Mannerist adjunctions. The structure is made up of three large blocks, incorporating previous constructions. The wing towards the St. Mark’s Basin is the oldest, rebuilt from 1340 onwards. The wing towards St. Mark’s Square was built in its present form from 1424 onwards. The canal-side wing, housing the Doge’s apartments and many government offices, dates from the Renaissance and was built between 1483 and 1565.