Several companies offer cruises on Mantua’s lakes – bulges in the course of the River Mincio – and on the river itself down to its confluence with the Po, ranging from one-hour jaunts up to full-day voyages as far as Ferrara and Venice. All run daily but must be booked in advance: usually a day ahead, but sometimes an hour or so will do.

Many of the boats accept bikes, so you can make a great day-trip – a morning on the boat, a picnic lunch at, say, Rivalta, then a gentle cycle-ride back in the afternoon. The tourist office has a good map detailing cycle routes, plus information on bus, boat and train combinations.

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