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Riviera Del Brenta

When in Venice, you would expect to spend a great deal of time on the water. One boat trip you will not want to miss is a day tour along The Brenta Canal. It will give you an up close look at some of the finest villas and palaces on what is also known as Riviera del Brenta in the Veneto Region.


Brenta is a river that runs 108 miles from Trentino to The Adriatic Sea. In the 16th Century, as grand villas were being built along the river, there was a desire to prevent silt from collecting in the Venetian lagoon, and so two canals were constructed, bypassing the lagoon. The aristocracy that owned the villas on the Brenta would travel daily by boat to conduct their business along the canals.


A day cruise along the Brenta is an experience back in time and a sight to behold. The boats depart from either Venice or Padua. You will cruise in a “Burchiello” (barge), which is derived from the word “Burchielli” referring to the wooden boats first used to carry passengers up and down the canals. Back in the day, these boats were beautifully decorated with carvings, bright colors and elegant cabins. Today, the boats are still an elegant way to travel the canals, many with the more modern amenities, such as air conditioning, bathrooms and comfortable cabins. As you enjoy lunch on board, you can gaze at the beautiful villas along the way and imagine yourself travelling back to the 18th Century.


Many of the villas are still privately owned, handed down from generations of gentry. However, if you want to get a closer look at some of the villas, there are several that are open to the public with self-guided tours.  You will notice that the style of some of the villas date back four centuries to the 16th Century. The neo-classical Villa Pisani, or the frescoed Villa Foscari will amaze architecture buffs. The beauty and stories of this time and these famous villas are written about in novels and poems by the likes of Goldoni, Casanova, Byron, Goethe Montaigne and D’Annunzio.

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