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Barges In Italy: La Bella Vita
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Cruise in Italy on the Venetian Lagoons, Po River, and Bianco Canal on the First Class Hotel-Barge LA BELLA VITA


The 20-passenger La Bella Vita was transformed into a hotel barge in 2010 and features a cheerful, spacious salon and dining area, and a bar with louvered doors open to the side decks for perfect viewing. The huge top sun deck has tables, chairs and comfortable sun loungers. There are two junior suites on the main deck approximately 125 square feet each including the baths, and there are eight staterooms on the lower deck approximately 105 square feet in size including the baths. Within each cabin is a bathroom with shower.

La Bella Vita cruises through the Venetian lagoons, touring historical Venice, and then cruising on to the Bianco Canal and Po River. Other excursions include a tour of Chioggia with its Roman, Etruscan and Byzantine history, a private visit to the gardens and wine cellars of Villa Widmann-Borletti, and a visit to the Ducal Palace in Mantua. Those who wish to explore the area further can take advantage of the bikes available on board and an expert tour guide to recommend the best routes to take. Delicious regional cuisine, fine Italian wines and the services of an attentive crew of five to eight crew will make this an unforgettable cruise.


  • Size of barge:140 ft.
  • Number of Passengers:20
  • Number of Cabins (all with private bath):10
  • Crew:5-8
  • Air Conditioning and Central Heating:Yes
  • Salon: Spacious salon with piano, dining room and bar with louvered doors open to the side decks.
  • Bar: Open Bar
  • Deck: Large sundeck with tables, chairs and comfortable sun loungers.
  • Spa Tub: No
  • Cabin Features: Two junior suites on upper deck 125 sq ft with queen bed or twins including bathroom with shower and 8 staterooms on lower deck 105 sq ft with double bed or twins including bathroom with shower.
  • Vehicle for Transfers/Excursions: Air-conditioned coach
  • Accessibility: Two cabins on main deck with no steps, eight cabins with steps from salon. Stairs to upper level sundeck.
  • Bicycles:10 touring bikes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes - limited in some areas

La Bella Vita's Deck Plan
La Bella Vita's Deck Plan

Cabin Names:
Main Deck Junior Suites:
1-Leonardo, 2-Michelangelo.
Lower Deck Staterooms:
3-Tiziano, 4-Canaletto, 5-Mantegna, 6-Boldini, 7-Tintoretto, 8-Veronese, 9-Caravaggio, 10-Tiepolo.

Dining Aboard La Bella Vita:

A taste of the gourmet cuisine served aboard La Bella Vita, cruising in Italy between Venice and Mantua. BREAKFAST
Continental breakfast with freshly baked Italian pastries and breads, cereals, fresh fruits and yoghurts. Eggs cooked on request. Fresh fruit juices, coffee and a selection of teas

During the week several lunches are served as light buffets. Typical dishes:
  • Parma Ham with Melon
  • Spaghetti Vongole (with Clams)
  • Torta de Limone
  • Sundried tomatoes with Basil Chutney on Crostini (Toast)
  • Grilled marinated Swordfish
  • Gelati (Ice Cream) with Amoretto Biscuits
  • Antipasto misto all’Italiana (Selection of Italian cured meats with grilled vegetables)
  • Spaghetti con Granchio (with crab, chilli, lemon and fennel seeds)
  • Strudel
  • Mozzarella di Bufala e San Daniele (Buffalo Cheese & Prosciutto with Fennel Salad)
  • Pan-Fried Fillet of Sea Bream with crushed Potato, Black Olives & Salsa Verde
  • Pere cotte in Di Puglia di Aleatico (Poached Pears in Wine) with Caramel Ice Cream
  • Polenta, Cheese and Mushrooms
  • Pumpkin Tortelli
  • Duck Breast alla Modenese
  • Sbrisolona cake with Marsala Cream
  • Minipiadine with Parma Ham
  • Risotto with girolle mushrooms, parsley, garlic and parmesan
  • Chargrilled Leg of Spring Lamb with Herb Salsa & Violetta Artichokes
  • Smoked Swordfish and Rucola Salad
  • Gnocchi with Spinach & Gorgonzola
  • Turbot with Pachino Tomatoes
  • Scallops and Scampi au Gratin
  • Crespelle Speck and Radiccio
  • Medallions of Beef with Brandy, Green Peppercorns on Cannelloni Beans
  • Chocolate and Amaretti Bonet
  • Meringue with Peaches
  • Pannacotta with Raspberries and Grappa
  • Seasonal Fresh Fruits
Toma del Macagno, Pecorino Tinaio Moresc, Monte Veronese, Basajo served with Specialty Italian breads such as Grissini, Ciabatta, Focaccia and served with Balsamic Vinegar & Olive Oil

Bardolino Chiaretto, Greco di Tufo, Nobile Montepulciano, San Lorenzo Dom. Bagnoli, Lagrain Rosè, Barbera d'Asti, Muller Thurgau, Morellino Scansano, Ribolla Gialla and Nero d'Avola

Passenger Comments:

Those that hadn't been on the canals of France seemed to be enamored of the whole thing. Those of us who have cruised on the canals were aware that it is a completely different experience. We loved the barge, the fantastic crew, the food and wine, the cabins, Mantua and Venice. The excursions were good, too, with Paola as our guide and the local guides that showed us through the winery, Ferrara and especially Mantua. All in all, it's a good cruise especially for people who have not been to Venice. The crew was truly fantastic. Rudy, the captain; Aurelio the waiter/bartender and Paola the guide. The others were great, too, and the hostesses very sweet and great with the cabins. Four of us had a cooking demonstration in the galley which was great fun and the lasagne the chef prepared was outstanding.
-- Travel Agent, 2012

A delightful new experience. We had been to Venice before, but on the barge trip we enjoyed visiting some of the lesser-known towns which also had interesting histories and beautiful churches, palazzi and other attractions.
-- MW, New Hampshire, USA, 2012

The food and wines were spectacular. We enjoyed the more personal excursions where we connected with people and where they live, such as the family at Villa Ca’Zen. Aurelio was a wonderful host and the wines he served complemented the meals perfectly. Tour guide Isabella was fun, knowledgeable and helpful and went out of her way to help each of us have the best experience possible.
-- TG, California, USA, 2012

My wife and I have been on approximately 30 cruises over the years. The crew of the La Bella Vita were without doubt the best crew we have experienced on any vessel. Everyone from the Captain to the youngest member was willing to do anything necessary to make the cruise a wonderful experience.
-- SF, Texas, USA, 2012

The meals were absolutely incredible. The quality and variety were outstanding. Silvia is fabulous. The entire crew made our trip the best experience we have ever had and we have cruised with Holland America, Viking, Uniworld and Royal Caribbean. Aurelio provided the most outstanding service we have ever had.
-- JV, Florida, USA, 2012

ITALY: Venice to Mantua 2015
The Venetian Lagoon, the Po River and the Bianco Canal

Sunday - Venice
Guests are met at the designated meeting point in Venice or Mestre on Sunday afternoon and transferred to La Bella Vita for a Prosecco welcome. A late afternoon cruise takes us 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 brief tour of the Doge's Palace before dinner on board.

Monday - Venice to San Pietro in Volta

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, the Naval Museum with a model of the Bucintoro (Doge's Boat) and the Pavilion of Gondolas housing Peggy Guggenheim's own vessel. 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. Dinner on board.

Tuesday - San Pietro in Volta to Taglio di Po

After a stroll or cycle along the 18th century Istrian sea wall in Pellestrina, we cruise to Chioggia, city of Goldoni's plays. Here we visit the picturesque town centre and colourful fish market. We also see the Cathedral and the Piazzetta Vigo before cruising on to the River Po delta. 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 17th century Villa Ca'Zen, a private stately home by the river where Lord Byron courted the Countess Giuccioli and wrote some of his best poetry.

Wednesday - Taglio di Po to Bosaro

This morning we cruise to Adria, an ancient Etruscan town and visit the Archaeological Museum. After lunch on board, we drive to the Bagnoli Estate where we tour the Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti, for a private tasting of their renowned estate grown vintages. This winery has been supplying Venetian society for centuries. Afternoon cruise to Bosaro. Dinner on board.

Thursday - Bosaro to Trevenzuolo

Morning excursion with guided tour of the Renaissance city of Ferrara, including the 14th century Estense Castle with its moat, drawbridges, marble balconies and sumptuous apartments, and the Schifanoia Palace with its fabulous 15th century frescoes. We also see the cathedral façade with its sculpted images described as an illustrated Bible. Return to the hotel barge for an afternoon canal cruise past villages and farmsteads to Trevenzuolo and dinner on board.

Friday - Trevenzuolo 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 14th century 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.

Saturday - Mantua

After breakfast, disembark La Bella Vita and transfer to the designated drop-off point in Venice or Mestre.

Note: This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction.

La Bella Vita
2015 Season Cruise Schedule*
Week Route Season
Mar 29 Venice-Mantua Value
Apr 5 Mantua-Venice Value
Apr 12 Venice-Mantua Value
Apr 19 Mantua-Venice Value
Apr 26 Venice-Mantua Regular
May 3 Mantua-Venice Regular
May 10 Venice-Mantua Regular
May 17 Mantua-Venice Regular
May 24 Venice-Mantua Regular
May 31 Mantua-Venice Regular
Jun 7 Venice-Mantua Regular
Jun 14 Mantua-Venice Regular
Jun 21 Venice-Mantua Regular
Jun 28 Mantua-Venice Regular
Jul 5 Venice-Mantua Regular
Jul 12 Mantua-Venice Regular
Cruise Schedule* ... continued
Week Route Season
Jul 19 Venice-Mantua Value
Jul 26 Mantua-Venice Value
Aug 2 Venice-Mantua Value
Aug 9 Mantua-Venice Value
Aug 16 Venice-Mantua Value
Aug 23 Mantua-Venice Regular
Aug 30 Venice-Mantua Regular
Sep 6 Mantua-Venice Regular
Sep 13 Venice-Mantua Regular
Sep 20 Mantua-Venice Regular
Sep 27 Venice-Mantua Regular
Oct 4 Mantua-Venice Regular
Oct 11 Venice-Mantua Regular
Oct 18 Mantua-Venice Value
Oct 25 Venice-Mantua Value

La Bella Vita's route in Italy from Venice to Mantua
La Bella Vita's route in Italy from Venice to Mantua

*Note: Cruise directions and sample itineraries may be in reverse and are subject to change and may depend on bookings and local navigation conditions. Alternate excursions of equal appeal are substituted when needed. For charter cruises special itineraries can be arranged.

Mar 29 thru Apr 25
Jul 19 thru Aug 22
Oct 18 thru Oct 31
Apr 26 thru Jul 18
Aug 23 thru Oct 17
Stateroom (per person, double occupancy)
Junior Suite (per person, double occupancy)
Single Occupancy Supplement
Charter for 12
Charter for 14
Charter for 16
Charter for 18
Charter for 20

NOTE: 2016 season bookings are now being accepted, subject to confirmation by the barge owner.
Book early for best selection of available cruise dates. 2015 rates will generally apply to 2016
bookings until 2016 rates are announced. Please contact us for full details.

What's Included for 2015
- 7 days and 6 nights on the barge, all cabins with private bath
- transfers from Mestre near Venice to the barge and return
- all meals beginning with dinner on Sunday through breakfast on Saturday, including one dinner at a local restaurant
- all wines with lunches and dinners
- open bar
- all escorted side-excursions
- use of bicycles

What's Not Included for 2015
- overseas air transportation to Venice and return
- suggested 5-7% gratuity for the crew, to be paid in equivalent Euros to the captain

Please visit our Special Offers page to see potential discounts for this barge or many others.
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Last Update: February 14, 2015

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CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association, OSSN-Outside Sales Support Network. 
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Cards Welcome