In March of 2013 Uniworld River Cruiseline launched a brand new itinerary that started & ended in Venice and explored the Northern Italy region.
During our previous 2 European Cruises in the Baltic & Mediterranean Seas we had visited some amazing places like St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Rome, Florence, Athens, Barcelona, etc. but there were 2 Europe Cruise ports we had missed that we were dying to go to.
First there was Istanbul, Turkey… after visiting Ephesus & Kusadasi during our Med Cruise in 2010 we knew we loved this country so no doubt we had to get to it’s main city in the near future and we did that during our Black Sea Cruise with Crystal Cruises… you can read our Istanbul review here.
But Venice, oh Venice, for sure that was right at the top of our “Bucket List”… we had heard so many great things about this Romantic “City on Water”.
So back to Uniworld’s new itinerary.
As soon as we heard about it’s release and saw that it spent several days in Venice, along with several other Northern Italian cities, and you got to visit it all while unpacking once & enjoying a 5 Star River Cruise, we were in! 🙂 (Speaking of 5 Star Luxury, you can read our review here of our experience on Uniworld)
**Note** Now before we go into how great this trip was, one word of caution… if you’ve already done a River Cruise, or have thought of doing one, and picture floating down the River enjoying scenic cities, this isn’t like that. Yes, you’re on the ship every-night but due to the geography of the cities here & restrictions of sailing on the Po River there’s not as much Cruising on this itinerary and there’s a few bus rides involved. Did this ruin the trip? Absolutely not as we knew what to expect in advance (which is why we’re informing you now :-)) & sailing in/out of Venice was the most scenic sailing we’ve ever done so it was great exploring this area in a 5 Star floating hotel!!
K, so back to what we saw.
1st off, Venice, Absolutely Gorgeous and the star of this new itinerary. No wonder this city & it’s surrounding lagoon are on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
How fun it is to simply wander around a city that sits entirely on water & has no cars… very cool! 118 islands connected by over 400 bridges, it doesn’t get more unique then that.
And as mentioned, the sailing in & out of Venice is truly the most scenic cruising we’ve ever done. Watching the sun set over St. Mark’s Square & Doge’s Palace is something else!
And when you go with Uniworld you get some truly exclusive events thrown in like a Private tour around Venice’s lagoon & the Grand canal capped off by a Private, after hours, visit to St. Mark’s Basilica… it doesn’t get any better then that!
You can see more of Venice at our “Venice & the Po River Photo & Video Gallery” but the bottom line is if you’ve never been to Venice, get there soon as it’s a great city… and doing this itinerary with Uniworld is a pretty fun way to do it! 🙂 (And if you’ve never been to Rome or Florence, then this itinerary with Uniworld will bring you to those 2 places too!)
One last thing on Venice, it’s a small fortune but when in Venice sit at one of the restaurants in St. Mark’s Square (At Night is Best!) where they have the Live Music. It doesn’t get anymore Romantic then that & it’s truly like getting to enjoy an intimate, World-Class, Music Concert as the performers are that talented!
So, beyond Venice, what else did we see when in Northern Italy?
Padua– This is an ancient University town, with an over 800 year old University, where Galileo used to lecture. Padua, which is right in between Venice & Verona, is rich in culture & history and is popular with Art Lovers. It features some great markets as well as “Prato della Valle”, one of the biggest squares in Europe. And when there make sure to stop by the famous “Pedrocchi Café” which was built in the 18th Century!
Ravenna– A city renowned for it’s Art, History & Culture but most famous for housing some of the most Beautiful Mosaics (images created with small pieces of colored glass, stone, & other materials) in the World! It also is home to a collection of 8 historical buildings (Basilica of San Vitale probably being the most fascinating) that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Famous Italian Poet “Dante”, who wrote the ” Divine Comedy”, died in Ravenna and you can even visit his tomb when there. And one thing we really enjoyed about Ravenna’s historical center is it’s car-free which means a great place for walkers & bikers!
Bologna– Yes, it’s home to the “University of Bologna”, the oldest University in the World and it has Beautiful Plazas, Galleries, Cathedrals, shopping, etc. But why we were excited to go there, & what Bologna is truly famous for, is it’s amazing food… Can you say Y.U.M!! 🙂 Italy in general is famous for it’s great food but even in Italy, Bologna is famous & renowned by it’s natives for it’s cuisine. Mortadella, Tortellini & of course, Bolognese Sauce, foodies for sure will love it here! And it was host to one of the funnest things we experienced
during our trip… Fresh Pasta making right before our eyes… very cool!
Verona– Is a city known for it’s amazing architecture (it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of that) and it’s home to the most fascinating arena we’ve seen outside of the Colosseum. And like it’s surrounding cities it has great shopping, food & people watching. But what’s it really famous for? One little Balcony of course! 🙂 As Verona is the setting of Shakespeare’s Famous “Romeo & Juliet” love story, everyone has to go check out Juliet’s Balcony from that famous scene. 🙂
So there you go, a recap of our experience while we visited Venice and the “Gems of Northern Italy” during our Uniworld River Cruise on the River Countess.
If you want to see more pics from this amazing vacation you can visit our “Venice & the Po River Photo & Video Gallery”
So, are you ready to head to Venice to do this itinerary & to enjoy amazing sites, food & culture? If so contact Shawn today & he’ll help you get your Uniworld River Cruise planned.
We Appreciate you!
Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!