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Brenta Canal Boat Trips

Want to see how the 16th century rich and famous of Venice enjoyed their weekends and summer breaks? Well then the Brenta canal should be on you itinerary if you are visiting Venice and have a day to spare.

Brenta Canal

In the 16th century, this trip was THE luxury excursion for the upper classes back in the day.

Many of these same people built sumptuous summer villas along the canal to escape from the sticky humidity of Venice—in fact, well over 2000 of them were built back in the day, and many of them are still here.

It needs to be said that some of them now look in dire need of some attention but a few have been lovingly restored to their former glory.

The trips were apparently summer outings of unfettered enjoyment and pleasure. Napoleon put a stop to all this frivolity in the late 18th century after he invaded Venice and removed the aristocracy, but the boat trips have now made a comeback.

Trips normally start in Padova ( a great city and well worth visiting too) and finish up in St Marks Square but trips from Venice to Padua are also available.

If you start your boat trip  from Venice the first bit (once you're out of Venice of course) can seem a bit flat and boring with little to see although it isn't as boring as it seems, the bird life here is the best in all of Italy with so many species living in the lagoons around Venice and along the river banks. There are even flamingos.

It gets interesting again once you start reaching the villas. The boats stop at all the main ones and you get a bit of a guided tour around them.

The Best Brenta Villas to visit

Barchessa Valmarana

Nestled amidst lush gardens, Barchessa Valmarana exudes timeless charm with its elegant architecture, beautiful frescoes by Tiepolo and enormous picturesque gardens and grounds. The villa, like many others, also holds various events during the summer season.

Villa Foscari (La Malcontenta)

Renowned for its graceful Palladian architecture, Villa Foscari, also known as La Malcontenta, boasts a storied past that includes hosting the illustrious poet Lord Byron. Its exquisite interiors and scenic setting along the Brenta Canal make it a must-visit for admirers of classical beauty and historic significance. Visit the official site for information on tickets etc.

Villa Pisani

This is perhaps the grandest of all the villas along the Brenta Canal, Villa Pisani dazzles with its opulent interiors, sprawling gardens, and breathtaking vistas. The gardens are stunning; you can easily get lost in them, thanks to the garden's huge maze.

The villa itself was once a lavish retreat for the Venetian nobility, it continues to enchant with its majestic architecture and splendid art collection, offering a glimpse into Italy's aristocratic past. For ticket information and photos of the villa click here.

Villa Widmann

This villa may be smaller than some of the others, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in charm; it boasts exquisite interiors adorned with frescoes, stuccoes, and ornate furnishings, reflecting the splendor of its illustrious past. It is surrounded by manicured gardens and picturesque loggias. The villa, like the three above, is one of the villas most often included in the boat tours.

Boat Trips

Boat companies charge around 80 euros for the cruise, which includes guided trips around three or four of the villas and a bus trip back at the end of the cruise. Most of them also make a stop for lunch, which is an extra 35 euros or so. If you don’t want this lunch, you can bring your own picnic with you.

One of the better companies running the trips is Battelli del Brenta.

Need a place to stay in Venice? I can really recommend you consider one of these excellent hotels.

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