The Sile River is a pleasant resurgent river that emerges on the plain just a few kilometres upstream of the beautiful medieval city of Treviso. There it winds through the streets and squares, giving the city a truly unique feel.
The city can also be reached in about 20 minutes of easy cycling via a lovely cycling path that sometimes passes over bridges. We highly recommend you visit here at the beginning or end of your holiday.
When departing the Houseboat.it base of Casale sul Sile the first part of navigation is under towering trees that create a thick shade where you will see families of swans, ducks, storks, herons and many other bird species.
At Portegrandi, the river continues to the left, while the branch to the right leads to the Portegrandi lock, providing direct access to the northern part of Venice’s lagoon. This is the most direct route to Burano, about an hour away, then Venice.
The heart of river navigation in the Veneto is the large bean-shaped lagoon that is home to the enchanting city of Venice. When navigating here, you must observe the dolphins (briccole) in addition to safety instructions, because of the boat traffic, the constant effect of the tide and the wind, which can sometimes be quite strong.
You cannot enter into the island canals with your boat. This privilege is reserved for residents and public transit boats. Private boats can only approach the islands and navigate around them where possible, always respecting the dolphins (briccole). You cannot moor anywhere, even if the banks appear free. You must only dock at authorised docking spaces. You cannot drop anchor to tie the boat to the dolphins (briccole). This is both dangerous and illegal.
The first island you will come to is Torcello on the left. From here on in, you must respect the information on the navigation maps and Navigation Rules.
A short way away is the colourful island of Burano with its characteristic leaning bell tower. To go to the company’s docks, head around the island of Burano, keeping it on the right, or the island of Mazzorbo, keeping it on the left.
The city of Venice is located in the central part of the lagoon. This area is very difficult to navigate because of the very heavy boat traffic. Mooring is available at the Vignole berths, following the lovely island of Sant’Erasmo to the west. They are the ideal solution to get to Venice without getting trapped in the city traffic. Until this point, the navigation is very pleasant and peaceful.
If you go around Venice from the east, you will come to the Canale delle Navi and Canale della Giudecca, which are very busy with strong wake that can cause the boat to strongly rock. You cannot moor anywhere in Venice except in the marinas.
Like all cities, Venice has its rhythms and routines, so it may be difficult to adapt to this phenomenal city. You must choose a mooring, leave the boat, and move through and around the city by public transit waterbuses. Purchase a daily pass, which is more economical than single tickets.
You cannot enter the Canal Grande as much as all the other internal canals. You cannot navigate around Venice by west side.
The Riviera del Brenta canal is an example of the glamour of 16th-century Venetian culture, a period during which Venice’s finest noble families built summer homes along these tranquil river banks. Today, more than 30 villas remain from the period, some of which are open to the public.
The river has five locks and no fewer than eight drawbridges before reaching the city of Padua, a true jewel, called the “capital of 14th-century painting”, the oldest city in the Veneto, dating all the way back to the first millennium after Christ.
The Riviera del Brenta ends in the town of Stra, home of the most monumental of the Venetian villas: Villa Pisani Nazionale, a UNESCO world heritage site.
After about an hour, and after passing through the last lock in Noventa Padovana (attention, the entrance to the lock is farther north), you arrive in Padua, entering the city centre along the ancient Roman walls.
Some important information
The draw bridges are manned by teams that are on call; after you call them, you need to wait for them to arrive. Depending on the priority of the calls, you may need to wait for up to an hour for the first gate to be opened. Then the team will follow you, opening all of the gates, at a decidedly faster pace.
As you pass under the drawbridges, beware of the current to keep the boat from veering sideways and crashing into the bridges.
The Riviera del Brenta is travelled daily by passenger boats, which always have precedence because of their size and timetable to be respected. If you meet one, do not cut it off and let it pass, taking care to avoid running into the banks.
Departure and arrival base: Casale sul Sile
Round back cruise – 7 days
24 hours – 12 locks – 18 movable bridges