A trip to Venice would not be complete without some time spent cruising the area’s famous canals. One of the most spectacular boat trips to take is a riverboat cruise down the Riviera del Brenta, a canal which runs 108 miles from the Veneto region to the Adriatic Sea connecting Venice and Padua. Along this path, travelers will see some of the region’s crown jewels – a selection of luxurious and historic villas that dot the Brenta Canal.

The beauty and culture of the Riviera del Brenta’s villas can be attributed to the area’s history. As early as the eighth century, noblemen from Venice began traveling up the Brenta Canal to build homes, as it was at the time illegal for citizens to own property on the mainland. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, as commercial industries boomed and the passageway became more essential for travel, even more buildings began to take shape. Homes became grand villas with expansive grounds and luxurious details rivaling those of some castles and palaces.

There were villas of all kinds. Some served as vacation homes, others as farms, some as havens for artists to escape and create their masterpieces, and many as hosting locales for important people such as royals. Many of the villas were designed and built by important architects, such as Andrea Palladio, Vincenzo Scamozzi, Gerolamo Frigimelica Roberti, and Francesco Maria Preti, and decorated by famous artists, including Canaletto and Tiepolo. As a result, the interiors of the villas are often lined floor to ceiling with stunning frescoes and the exterior and interior architectural details make statements all on their own.

Though many of the villas along the Riviera del Brenta are privately owned after being passed down from generation to generation, several are open to the public. If given the opportunity, travelers with an appreciation for art, architecture, and history should absolutely take a day cruise along the canal and explore the villas. Whether simply admiring their exteriors from the boat as it cruises by or exploring the interior of the villas firsthand, the Riviera del Brenta offers a unique glimpse into the life of fifteenth to eighteenth century Italy.


The Riviera del Brenta is a part of the metropolitan city of Venice in the region of Veneto in Northeastern Italy.

The area of Venice is known for its canals that allow travelers to take in the beauty of the area by boat or gondola. The Riviera del Brenta is no different. Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, the Brenta River was used as a consistent passageway for nobility between two large cities, Padua and Venice. Today, the same passage that the noblemen of yesteryear would use can be navigated by travelers to explore this historic region of Veneto.

The climate of Venice and the Veneto region is considered to be humid subtropical. This means that travelers can expect cool winters and warm summers. During the winter, the average temperature is around 40°F while during the summer the temperature averages 75°F.


The main draw for travelers to the Riviera del Brenta area is the stunning and historic villas that line the canal. By traveling via riverboat, travelers can stop at various locales to take in the beauty, art, and culture of the villas.

As early as the Renaissance, the noblemen of the Venetian Republic would construct remarkable structures along the Brenta River to serve as their summer homes. The dwellings were further enhanced with artwork by the most renowned artists of the time and expansive gardens. While there are many villas constructed along the Brenta Canal that survive to this day, some of the must-see sites include:

Villa Pisani Nazionale – An eighteenth-century villa known for its opulent gardens, well-preserved hedge maze, expansive main building with over 100 rooms, and national museum that features art exhibitions ranging from ancient to contemporary.

Villa Widmann – Also known as the Villa Widmann-Rezzonico-Foscari, this villa features beautiful outdoor gardens, many works of art, and a beautiful interior.

Villa Foscari – Designed by architect Andrea Palladio and commissioned by the powerful Foscari family, Villa Foscari is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its original charm and feel that have remained intact over the centuries.

Villa Foscarini Rossi – In addition to having stunning Baroque architectural details, this villa features a museum of shoes containing almost 2,000 varieties of luxury styles.

Villa Contarini – Truly a palace, the Baroque Villa Contarini sits atop a massive slice of land complete with a lake, private canals, and stunning gardens. Owned by the region of Veneto, it is home to many public events such as concerts and festivals.

In addition to visiting the many villas along the canal, there are a variety of cultural festivals and events that travelers can enjoy when visiting the area.

The opening event of travel season, Carnevale degli Storti, is an exciting and beautiful event that features intricate floats and artistic masks similar to Venice’s popular Carnival.

Another stunning spectacle to see is the Riviera Fiorita (Flowering Riviera), an event where locals dress themselves and their boats in bright colors and festive costumes before floating down the canal.

If traveling to the Brenta Canal during October at the time of the Venice marathon, you can join the spectators and cheer on the runners, as the marathon route runs along the shoreline.

There are also a variety of antique markets and flea markets to visit in the various towns that rest along the canal.

Don't just see Italy, live it.

Your dream trip to Italy has never been closer

No more endlessly scrolling travel sites. Our travel experts will craft the perfect, one-of-a-kind trip just for you.




We offer more Italian destinations than any travel site. Do and see more with Trips 2 Italy.

1 (of a kind)


Because your dream trip to Italy should be designed for you, not for the masses.



From flights and accommodations, to food and activities - we take care of every detail.

Your dream vacation starts here

No more endless scrolling through travel sites looking for the perfect fit. Tell us about your ideal trip and preferences, and let our Italian-born travel experts do the rest.

Your dream vacation starts here

Just share a few details about your ideal trip & let our travel experts do the rest.