Italy is a land of passions: from delicious food to breath-taking music, the romance of this country enchants everyone who visits. Italian river cruises are one of the best ways to experience all that Italy has to offer from a unique perspective. European Waterways’ luxurious Italian Opera Cruise allows our guests to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country. We cruise from the iconic Canal City, Venice, through the Po Valley, ending in one of the cultural centres of Northern Italy, Mantua. This trip is perfect for guests who want to immerse themselves in the beauty of opera, as well as experience the dramatic history of some of Italy’s most fascinating ancient towns.
La Bella Vita
Though operatic entertainment is the centrepiece of this exciting trip, our Italian river cruises don’t miss out any of the good stuff! Those with a passion for history – and intrigue – will be captivated by the power and influence of the Gonzaga family, who moulded Mantua into a cultural centre in the Renaissance. Mantua’s remarkable Ducal Palace is full of architectural gems, such as the Gallery of Mirrors and a lovely collection of frescos. Mantua is rivalled only by the timeless elegance of Venice, our trip’s starting point.
If your love of music is combined with a love of nature, then look no further than our cruise, which will take you through the peaceful nature reserve of the Po Delta. From the barge’s sundeck, you’ll be able to spot herons, snipe and even the pink flash of the flamingo. Bring your binoculars!
Opera Begins Long Before the Curtain Goes Up
Italian river cruisesare an ideal way to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of opera. On our Italian Opera Cruise, you will have plenty of time to learn about the art form, which originated in sixteenth-century Florence. In Venice’s Arena Muse Opera, we will hear about its history, and at the Gran Teatro La Fenice, you can imagine hearing the very first performance of works by legendary composers such as Gioachino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi. The Gran Teatro La Fenice’s name, which means ‘The Grand Theatre of the Phoenix’, refers to opera rising from the ashes as a powerful force. This passion and ambition for the art form can certainly still be felt today!
In the city of Ferrara, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can visit the Teatro Communale, which is a striking five-tiered auditorium. In Mantua, we’ll also explore the eighteenth-century Teatro Bibiena, an elaborately decorated late Baroque theatre, where the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed in 1770.
The Main Event
The highlight of the journey is taking your place in the front stalls in the gorgeous Arena di Verona to watch Georges Bizet’s Carmen. This Roman amphitheatre was built well over 2000 years ago, and can hold up to 15,000 people. Its dramatic form lends itself perfectly to the large-scale, lavish operatic productions that take place here, and the acoustics are wonderful. Our opera-loving guests will be thrilled to know that they are guaranteed a place in the sough-after front stalls. Sitting under the stars in an ancient amphitheatre whilst the music of Carmen washes over you will be a memory to hold on to forever.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury Italian river cruises . Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.