Venice & the Gems of Northern Italy
Arrive at Venice Marco Polo International Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship. After you’ve settled into your floating hotel, consider jumping right into Venetian culture with a private boat ride to a nearby arts center where you’ll see the fine arts of glassblowing and lace-making on display.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Walking discovery of Venice and exclusive evening–opening of St. Mark’s Basilica
Venice, which was founded in the sixth century, controlled all European trade with the East during the Middle Ages. Local guides will lead you through hidden alleys where tourists rarely go to the Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace, which is brimming with artistic treasures. The tour concludes at Rialto Bridge; stay in the city and explore on your own, or return to the ship. Cap off your day with a most memorable experience: an exclusive, crowd-free visit to spectacular St. Mark’s Basilica. In the evening enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
Note: It is not always possible to arrange after-hour visits to St. Mark’s Basilica. If religious functions or festivities are taking place in the evening, we will visit during regular hours.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of half-day excursion to Padua or Chioggia walking discovery tour
Enjoy magnificent farewell views of “The Floating City’s” greatest sites, including the Grand Canal, as your ship departs Venice. Then visit the medieval walled city of Padua, one of Italy’s oldest towns and home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Here, many notable scholars sought academic freedom, including Galileo and Copernicus, and two of Italy’s most famous writers, Dante and Petrarch, were students. Join your local guide on a walking tour of Padua through ancient arcades and porticos to Palazzo della Ragione, Padua’s historic city center, and enjoy a treat at a local café. Or, explore Chioggia on foot. This gem of a city is much like a miniature Venice, with its canals, narrow streets, and medieval churches. Later in the afternoon, reboard your ship in Taglio di Po and sail to Polesella.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of full-day excursion to Bologna with exclusive pasta-making workshop with lunch or half-day excursion to Ferrara with lunch onboard
Spend the whole day in Bologna, called la grassa, meaning “bountiful.” Its portico-lined streets are home to the oldest university in Europe. But does it really have the best food in Northern Italy? You be the judge. There’s more to the city than Bolognese sauce, that’s for sure—there’s Parma ham, parmesan cheese, and perhaps the best tortellini in the world, all on lavish display in the amazing food markets. Join a pasta-making workshop and learn how to create your own fabulous pasta. Or spend a half day in UNESCO-designated Ferrara, one of Italy’s best- kept secrets, where you’ll discover how the city became an artistic hub for the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, and Petrarch, among others.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of half-day excursion to Po Delta area with seafood lunch or full-day excursion to Ravenna, “City of Mosaics”
Today, you have two delightful options. You can visit the beautiful Po Delta area, just south of Venice on the Northern Adriatic Sea. The Po Delta Nature Reserve contains 2 million trees of 150 different species, and you’ll learn about many of them on today’s tour. After enjoying the scenery, you’ll journey to the fishing town of Chioggia and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch. Or, if you prefer, you can travel to ancient Ravenna, the “City of Mosaics.” You’ll join your guide on a tour of Ravenna’s UNESCO-designated Early Christian Monuments: Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, and St. Vitale Basilica (which contains stunning mosaics that are more than 1,500 years old).
FEATURED EXCURSION: Full-day excursion to Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare endowed Verona with enduring fame when he wrote of two star-crossed lovers, but Verona has been an important city in Northern Italy for two thousand years. Today you’ll see its extraordinary pink-marble-sheathed Roman arena, where many famous composers, musicians, and opera singers still perform. Savor the magic of Verona and get swept away in its romance. Or, enjoy a full day at leisure in Venice.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Venice walking
See Venice like the locals do on this immersive walking tour of the Dorsoduro district and the Rialto, the city’s historic core, where you’ll find the Rialto Market stretched along the Grand Canal. As you stroll among the stalls of local produce, meat, fish, and specialty goods, you’ll get a feel for the authentic market experience—you’ll even get the chance to indulge in a Venetian aperitivo. During the afternoon, sail through the scenic Venice Lagoon and enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner in the evening.
Disembark the ship and transfer to Venice Marco Polo International Airport for your flight home.