Location: Mantua - Sabbioneta - San Benedetto Po - Ferrara - Rovigo

“Nature, culture, art, history” is the slogan that sums up what can be seen in the area around river Mincio and river Po. This area, extends from Garda Lake to the Adriatic Sea through the hills near Mantua and the great Po plain.
Here historical features overlap like the ancient castles and medieval fortifications, the hunting grounds and the palaces of the Dukes of Mantua, the dams for the hydric control of the lakes or the ‘water lifts’ of Governolo navigation lock, the Etruscan ruins or the prehistoric finds. All these historical layers are reflected in the scenery along the meandering river, through which you’ll see damp woods, meadows, oases and wetlands of international importance, with reeds and aquatic vegetation that provide shelter to hundreds of species of birds.

Day 1 – MANTUA and SABBIONETA

Breakfast at the hotel.
Full day excursion to Mantua and Sabbioneta included among the World Heritage sites in 2008.
Guided tour of Palazzo Ducale in Mantua, called “a city within a city”, the big palace where the governing families of Mantua lived, worked and conspired from the late thirteenth to the eighteenth century.
In the old town you can see its ancient squares and buildings: Piazza Sordello, Piazza Broletto, Piazza Erbe, Palazzi Bonacolsiani, Torre della Gabbia, the Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo della Ragione, the Rotunda of Matilda, S. Lorenzo and the famous Basilica of St. Andrew, one of Leon Battista Alberti’s masterpieces.
After the visit, lunch at a restaurant.
Transfer to Sabbioneta.
Sabbioneta is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Lombardy. Within a few metres you can visit the first theatre built in Europe, the third-longest Gallery of Italy, the only Toson d’Oro exposed to the public, one of the few city walls substantially intact and the Mausoleum of Vespasiano Gonzaga.
Dinner and overnight stay in Mantua.

Day 2 – SAN BENEDETTO PO and MANTUA

Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to San Benedetto Po to visit the ancient Basilica and its museum.
San Benedetto Abbey in Polirone was founded in 1007 by the Count of Canossa Tebaldo and entrusted to the Benedictine monks.
Lunch at a restaurant.
After lunch, boarding on a boat to return to Mantua up to the
Mincio river, passing through the valley of Governolo, the village where Attila stopped, and Andes, birthplace of the great poet Virgil.
Coming to Mantua from the Lower Lake, the view of the Palace of Gonzaga is spectacular.
Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3 – FERRARA

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Ferrara (the transfer may even occur with the river boat, crossing the Mincio and the Po). Guided tour of the city.
Within the walls of Ferrara stands the central Piazza della Repubblica,
from where you can visit the Castle of Este on one side and the Cathedral on the other. A few minutes walk from the castle you get to San Giorgio’s
Cathedral built in the twelfth century.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon boarding on a private boat for an excursion to the natural reserve of the Bocche del Po, a labyrinth of pure nature.
Return to Ferrara.
Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4 – ROVIGO

Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to Rovigo, guided visit of the city.
The octagonal church of Beata Vergine del Soccorso (1594), called the Rotunda, the ruins of the Castle of Este (920), the oldest architectural structure of the city, Palazzo Roncale (1555), Palazzo Angeli (1780) and Palazzo Ravenna (XVI century) are worth visiting.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon visit of one of the Polesine Villas.
Like everywhere else in Veneto, the Province of Rovigo is admired for the rich presence of villas, whose artistic phenomenon was closely linked to the expansion on the mainland of the Venetian domination.