Famous in Italy and in the world, the mini-cruise between the Venetian Villas of the Brenta Riviera (that is, from Padua to Venice and vice versa) aboard the Burchiello is romantic, unforgettable, exciting and above all unmissable.
In the past, the Burchiello was a typical Venetian boat used for the transport of passengers equipped with a large wooden cabin and sumptuously decorated; not by chance, in fact, was intended for the wealthier classes that had to reach their villas in the countryside starting from the city center.
Remaining faithful to tradition, even today the Burchiello sails along the waters of the Brenta and runs along the Riviera that goes from Padua to Venice offering a service of great tourism and offering visitors guided tours to learn about history, the art and culture of the villas that gradually cross each other. Of course, passengers currently travel on comfortable boats, equipped with air conditioning, dining facilities and toilets.
The programs of mini-cruises provide for the navigation of the Brenta starting from Padua to Venice or vice versa, with stops in the most famous and renowned Venetian Villas of the eighteenth century. It is a unique experience, allowing the tourist to travel comfortably and see more places in the same day.
This is what a classic mini-cruise from Padua consists of!
The departure from Padua
The cruise in Burchiello lasts, therefore, a whole day: departure at 8.00 in the morning from Padua, precisely from Porta Ognissanti, to embark on navigation along the Piovego canal and along the Renaissance walls of the city. Along the route you cross the Castelnuovo and the Portello Vecchio Bastion, the industrial area, the Graissi bridge to reach Noventa Padovana, which is the link between Padua and the Brenta Riviera (which actually begins with the town of Stra, in the province of Venice).
It is in Noventa Padovana that you will come across the first of the Venetian Villas scheduled, that is the beautiful Villa Giovanelli Colonna. Next, here is the first lock, that of Noventa Padovana that allows the boats to continue sailing in a slightly lower section of canal.
After the Piovego canal crosses the course of the Brenta River you arrive at the Stra lock, which continues its course and then flows into the southern part of the Venice lagoon.
From Stra to Fusina
After the lock of Stra and embarked on navigation on the Naviglio del Brenta begins the Riviera del Brenta, characterized by a succession of Venetian Villas that you can visit thanks to the mini-cruise of Burchiello.
The first villa that you come to Stra is Villa Foscarini Rossi, home of the Rossimoda Footwear Museum, a real symbol for a land that has made the production of shoes and footwear a strong identity and significant trait for the local economy.
Later, here is Villa Pisani in all its splendor: built from 1721, it is among the most famous Venetian Villas able to attract more than 150 thousand visitors every year. Its impressive size includes 168 rooms as well as the park and stables. Among the most valuable rooms are that of Napoleon, consisting of a golden canopy bed and a bathroom with bathtub in the room, and that of Vittorio Emanuele II.
Villa Pisani is also known for being a meeting place for famous historical figures, such as Hitler and Mussolini, Gabriele D’annunzio and Giovanni Pascoli.
Villa Widmann in Mira
The second among the Venetian Villas that you can visit is Villa Widmann, also known as Villa Seriman or Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari (based on the various owners who have succeeded in time). Today it is owned by the Province of Venice, which uses it as a venue for exhibitions and events.
It was built in 1719 for the Seriman family, a noble Venetian family of Persian origin, and then renovated, enlarged and modified after the second half of the eighteenth century by the Widmann family.
Decidedly smaller than Villa Pisani, Villa Widmann impresses with its shape, its parks and the magnificent Salone delle Feste enriched with frescoes by Giuseppe Angeli. Several illustrious artists such as Carlo Goldoni, the musicians Malipiero, Igor Stravinski and Gabriele d’Annunzio also stopped here.
Villa Foscari la Malcontenta
After Mira you reach Malcontenta, where you can admire Villa Foscari, called “the Malcontenta”. Designed by Andrea Palladio in 1559 at the behest of Nicolò Foscari, the villa is simply monumental, so much so as to look like a Greek temple because of the mighty columns and the raised base.
In addition, the villa is also famous for the legend of Malcontenta, who apparently was a lady of the Foscari family destined for solitary confinement as a result of inappropriate behavior. No one has ever seen her, even through the windows, which has given rise to anecdotes and legends about her.
The Venetian lagoon and the arrival in Venice
Once in Fusina, the Naviglio del Brenta flows into the Venetian lagoon, offering the city of Venice in all its splendour to the passengers of the Burchiello. From the river, in fact, you can admire the Punta della Dogana and the Basilica of San Marco and, once you get off, you can always take a tour of the city to discover the hidden wonders!
Lunch break on the Burchiello
Take a mini-cruise of this kind without tasting at least a typical dish of the local food and wine is really unthinkable; fortunately, sailing on the Brenta with the Burchiello allows you to stop and enjoy the local cuisine, characterized by fish and shellfish dishes of the lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, or meat and other products from the land and the surrounding countryside.
The lunch break of the Burchiello takes place in Oriago, on the pier of the same name, famous for the fish restaurant belonging to the Buon Ricordo circuit that offers the choice of two fixed menus. Lunch is not included in the price of the cruise, so you can choose to have lunch elsewhere, but the proposals of Oriago are so inviting to prove quite irresistible!