Boat trip from Padua to Venice visiting the Villas of the Riviera

escursioni giornaliere
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Meeting point at the river port of Portello di Padova, at the wharf taken by the historic Scalinata del 500.

An ancient river port of the city with an elegant portal in white Istrian stone and a turret with a clock; this is where the boats used to head, travelling along navigable rivers and canals, to connect Padua and its province with the Venice lagoon. Sailing along the Piovego, following the original river route of the ancient Venetian burchielli, skirting the ancient 16th-century bastion walls, we pass under the old Graissi Bridge, arriving at Noventa Padovana. Here one can admire the solitary and superb Villa Giovanelli, extensively frescoed, built at the end of the 17th century, whose architectural structure combines compositional characteristics of Palladio and Longhena; a singular monumental pentagonal-shaped pronaos, tall Corinthian columns with a tympanum adorned with statues, a majestic staircase: elements that make its exterior imposing and scenic.

Passing through the Chiuse di Noventa Padovana and Stra, real water lifts, with a descent of the water level, we arrive in Stra, where we stop to visit the monumental Villa Pisani, the majestic villa of the Pisani nobles that has hosted doges and emperors in its 114 rooms, kings and emperors in its 114 rooms, and today is a national museum housing furnishings and works of art from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Gianbattista Tiepolo’s masterpiece ‘Glory of the Pisani family’ and a scenic park. Navigation resumes with an illustration of the various villas seen from the river, approximately seventy in number, and the crossing of the monumental Chiusa di Dolo (Dolo Lock), with a descent of the water level. Navigation continues amidst Venetian villas, riverside villages and swing bridges, arriving at Mira, where we cross the Chiusa with a descent of the water level. At Riscossa di Mira, in one of the bends formed by the river, stop to visit Villa Widmann Rezzonico, one of the jewels of late Venetian Baroque. Lunch break in one of the area’s typical restaurants and resumption of navigation among Venetian villas, riverside villages and swing bridges, with an illustration of the various villas seen from the river.

And still navigating, one arrives at the Malcontenta, where one can admire and visit Villa Foscari known as La Malcontenta, one of the masterpieces of Andrea Palladio’s genius, in all its elegance and monumentality. La Malcontenta is a typical example of a villa temple with its monumental pronaos that is reflected melancholically and superbly, among the weeping willows, in the waters of the Canal.

We resume navigation and, crossing the Chiusa di Moranzani and Fusina, descend into the lagoon. Past the island of San Giorgio in Alga we enter the Giudecca Canal: to the right the towering Mulino Stucky building, the Redentore church, a masterpiece of Palladian sacred architecture, and finally Le Zitelle. Turning between Punta della Dogana and the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, we enter the magical marble setting of St. Mark’s Basin in Venice, where the fantastic journey ends.


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