Some say the best way to see a country is from the water. It’s hard to disagree with that statement after returning from Italy, river cruise completed and the sights, sounds and tastes of the country still fresh in your memory. Whether it’s wine, food, or stunning scenery, the view from the canals and waterways is a stupendous way of getting to know a region better than you might otherwise be able to. |
The Po is the biggest waterway in Italy; river cruise holidays that embark upon it can be some of the most varied and interesting anywhere in Europe. For this reason, it can be hard to see everything. Below we’ve highlighted some of the must-see aspects of this great river, as well as some interesting facts and history.
It’s possible to consider the Po the starting point of Italy, as we know it. It gave early settlers to the country means of transport into the heart of the landscape, and was later used as a blockade to keep out troublesome tribes. When the Romans eventually took control of the country they saw it’s value, which is perhaps why we see so many classically beautiful settlements all along its 600+ kilometres.
Fans of music and opera should check out Busseto on their Italy river cruise. Although a small town, it packs plenty in terms of culture and history. The composer with whom the town shares its name is well respected in these parts and enjoying a performance of his compositions can captivate even those with little interest in his music. The town itself is architecturally very special, too, and travellers will feel they’ve stepped back in time.
An Italy river cruise that heads toward Mantua might have taken the best detour possible. With its lagoons and cathedrals, it’s a heady mix of classical architecture, culture and natural wonders. It’s a place where you’ll see Italian culture and history presented in its most pure and impressive form.
One of the key stop-offs on an Italy river cruise along the Po is the Bassa Padana region. Notable for its spellbinding beauty, its landscapes are as luscious and captivating as anywhere else in the world – as well as the presence of charming old villas of nobility long passed.
It’s a place known for food production, with plenty of orchards for holidaymakers to check out. A delightful combination of borlotti beans and pasta make up one of the region’s many delicious local specialities. Towns in the area are fiercely proud of their food culture, and visitors would do well to enjoy as many dishes as possible to see what the fuss is about!
A very beguiling place indeed, Crostolina is a paradise of waterways and wetlands. It’s home to many bird species that will interest wildlife lovers and is a great spot to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
Towns and Tributaries
Touring along the Po is something that every visitor to Italy needs to experience, at least once in their life. It’s home to some of the most delectable food and wine, the best classically Italian cultural production, and some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere on earth.
Booking a tour with a reputable tour operator is a great way to ensure you can see the highlights we’ve mentioned here, as well as a number of other fantastic stops along the canals of this mighty river.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury Italy river cruise itineraries, as well as barge holidays in other great destinations. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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