Back from: Cruising Italy on the SS La Venezia | Holiday items

Angela Perro, European specialist for Wexas Travel, spent a week sailing the rivers of northern Italy aboard the elegant Uniworld SS La Venezia. She details here how her latest adventure changed her vision of this region.

From the moment we arrived, we felt at home aboard the magnificent SS La Venezia. We were welcomed with open arms and a glass of Prosecco in the stylish Hari’s bar, which has become one of our favorite spaces on the ship, especially on evenings when the live music and opera nights provided a energy and a captivating look to the ship. The SS La Venezia he himself also has bags of character, with impressive Murano glass and gold accents bringing authenticity on board and the assurance that you are indeed in Italy. Another of our favorite places was the solarium, a spacious and bright terrace where we spent many relaxed afternoons enjoying a breathtaking view of the passing landscape.

The authentic Venetian decor doesn’t stop there; our cabin was beautifully decorated with large windows and a French balcony overlooking the third deck. Closet space was plentiful and the beds were as big as they were comfortable! In fact, the whole ship was redecorated and refitted in 2020, so everything was fresh and oozing with class.

Angela’s cabin aboard the SS La Venezia

A trip with Uniworld can definitely be considered a gastronomic experience. The breakfast and lunch buffets never failed to impress, and the diversity was particularly noteworthy – delicious Italian salads, fresh seafood and the best cuts of local meat were beautifully presented, and a real treat. culinary. Daily specials were also available, with a mix of hot and cold dishes always present and cooked to order. Of course, we wouldn’t be in Italy if we hadn’t sampled the vast selection of homemade desserts and ice creams. With four course a la carte meals every night and local produce complemented by wine pairings by our sommelier, it was a perfect match for a foodie like me. But without a doubt, the star of the show was the appetizing rack of lamb with a rosemary sauce, accompanied beautifully by a Mediterranean ratatouille and a mascarpone polenta, perfectly complemented by a full-bodied red.

A fine example of the ship's excellent cuisine
A fine example of the ship’s excellent cuisine

I can also say that I learned a thing or two about real Italian cooking. Apparently, all my life I’ve been eating the wrong kind of pasta with Bolognese sauce! Turns out, for locals, spaghetti isn’t the obvious choice. Instead, locals say there’s no better pairing than pairing this famous sauce with tagliatelle. That’s not the only thing I took away from our day trip to Bologna – I can now impress my guests by making my own pasta! The service was truly impeccable, with attention to detail from start to finish. Having visited this part of Italy before, I did not expect to learn so much about its culture, cuisine and traditions. River cruises are undoubtedly a fantastic and authentic way to explore the lesser known parts of a country – and SS La Venezia and his staff were central to this with their extremely knowledgeable guides and varied excursions, all of which allowed me to see the country from a completely different perspective.

Pasta Making Masterclass in Bologna
Learn the art of making pasta

All of our excursions were fantastic days out and both educational and interactive. However, the most impressive experience for me personally was undoubtedly our day in Venice and the Murano glass blowing demonstration by an expert Venetian master glassmaker. Incredibly, in seconds, he was able to create magnificent works of art using precision techniques and his impeccable mastery of glass. What looked like pure magic to us actually takes many years of patience and learning to master, usually from childhood. To become a Murano master glassmaker, you have to start young, work alongside experienced masters, learn unique techniques and ancient secrets, taking up to 15 years before you can start creating your own creations.

Another favorite was Burano. We all instantly fell in love with its bright, colorful houses and small island charm – a must when visiting Venice. Our local guide told us that if we were to buy a house here, there are strict rules to follow. By law, every house must be brightly painted in a different color than your neighbor’s house. The bustling boutique houses separated by narrow canals were perfect and well worth a visit for a relaxing stroll, an ice cream and a souvenir from a traditional lacemaker for which the island is particularly famous. As you can imagine Burano gets very busy with tourists in the early afternoon, but as we were moored all day we were able to have this lovely place to ourselves in the evening. It’s these little details that really set Uniworld apart from any other small cruise liner I’ve been on.

The deliciously colorful Burano

We spent several days in Venice visiting the impressive Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world due to its intricate floor-to-ceiling mosaics. But it wasn’t just lessons in tourism and history. We were introduced to a fantastic local market by our chef Thomas, who helpfully explained what to look for when picking the best octopus and fresh vegetables which we then had the chance to try for lunch!

Panoramic view of the Grand Canal

To top it all off, an afternoon water taxi showed off the best of Venice’s sights. I have to say it was breathtaking to see Venice from the Grand Canal with its famous Rialto Bridge and other iconic buildings forming an idyllic backdrop; a highly recommended and certainly memorable end to our trip.

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