European Waterways’ new Opera Cruises on ‘La Bella Vita’ feature Puccini and Verdi operas at the Arena di Verona

Arena di Verona © Courtesy of Fondazione Arena di Verona
Arena di Verona
© Courtesy of Fondazione Arena di Verona

European Waterways is offering guests “a night at the opera” on two special opera-themed cruises onboard the hotel barge La Bella Vita. The 7-night tours, July 11-18 and September 5-12, 2015, include a night in Verona with premium seating at the Arena di Verona, a former Roman Amphitheater. There, guests will enjoy a grand performance of Puccini’s “Tosca” on July 11 or Verdi’s “Nabucco” on September 5. They will also visit the famous Arena Museo Opera museum, which is dedicated to the history, creativity and excellence of Italian opera. The next day, they will board La Bella Vita in Venice and embark on a one-of-a kind hotel barge cruise to Mantua, a cultural hub of the Italian Renaissance. Tours start at $5,140 per person, based on double occupancy.

“Our entire fleet offers opportunity for cultural immersion,” said Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways. “For lovers of art and classical music, the Opera Cruise on La Bella Vita takes it up a notch. In addition to catching a performance of some of the world’s greatest operas, guests will experience first-hand the history and cuisine of Italy on a cruise from Venice to the city of Mantua. It’s a truly priceless and unforgettable vacation.”

Music to Your Ears
Once onboard La Bella Vita, guests will be treated to a special private performance by a renowned opera quartet. They will drift away on a leisurely cruise that includes visits to famous baroque theaters such as Venice’s Gran Teatro La Fenice (the Phoenix), a landmark theater and a perfect stop for music lovers. Many celebrated composers premiered their work here, including bel canto era composers Rossini, Bellini, Donezetti, and Verdi.

Other highlights of the cruise include passing colorful islands in the Venetian lagoon and a dinner ashore at the private 17th century stately home Villa Ca’ Zen, where the English poet Lord Byron conducted his tempestuous love affair with the Countess Giuccioli, inspiring some of his best poetry. Guests will also tour the Renaissance gardens and wine cellars of the 17th century Villa Widmann Borletti, where they will enjoy a private tasting. Also on the itinerary is a visit to the famous fish market in Chioggia; cruising through a nature reserve filled with flamingos and other colorful wildlife; and visiting the palace of Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara to view the famous frescoes.

Journey’s end is in Mantua, with guided tours of the city including a visit to the stunning Ducal Palace, which features some 500 rooms, 15 gardens and courtyards, a museum, frescoes, and the Gallery of Mirrors. The day is capped with a tour of the Teatro Bibiena, which opened with a concert by 13-year-old Mozart in 1770.

“La Bella Vita’s Opera Cruise is a unique experience that’s sure to leave guests talking – and maybe even singing about – for months,” says Banks.

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