Europe for Cruisers - Home
Cruise Lines Cruise Reviews

La Bella Vita Barge Cruise Photos

From: La Bella Vita Barge Cruise Review

Day 6: Conca di San Leone to Governolo (Mantua)

LA BELLA VITA daily program

Normally, La Bella Vita cruises up the Mincio River to Mantua on Friday morning, but high water levels required a change of plans. Instead, we were to cruise through the Conca di San Leone (the lock near our pier) and up a short stretch of river to the Conca di Governolo.

The barge would tie up below the Governolo Lock, and we'd be transferred by van and car to Mantua, reaching the city by 10 a.m.

Conca di San Leone near Mantua

However, things didn't work out that way: When we reached the San Leone Lock, the gates wouldn't open. (We could see a yellow service truck alongside the conca.)

LA BELLA VITA in the Conca di San Leone

After a long wait, the lock's crew managed to get the gate open, and we entered the lock.

Conca di San Leone, Canal Bianco

The gates closed behind us, and then came another surprise: The gates ahead us of wouldn't open. We were trapped in the Conca di San Leone, with no easy or safe way to get off the barge.

Workers at San Leone Lock near Mantua

Conca di San Leone - San Leone Lock

While the lock's crew and a service technician tried to get the hydraulic system working, Captain Rudy told us that he'd never before encountered a stuck lock gate in 20 years of navigation.

Goats at Conca di San Leone

Goats at San Leone Lock

Fortunately, we had a distraction from our imprisonment: A herd of goats grazed on the steep hillside overlooking the lock.

Woman and child with goats in Italy

At the top of the hill, a lady and her son paid a visit to the herd.

Goats at Conca di San Leone, Italy

Other goats had La Bella Vita's passengers worrying and thinking: "Don't jump!"

Paola Salvato picking up fish on LA BELLA VITA

Fish on LA BELLA VITA's sun deck

Goats weren't the only animal entertainment in the Conca di San Leone. On the sun deck, our tour leader--Paola Salvato--discovered a small fish that must have been dropped by a clumsy seagull. 

Control booth of Conca di San Leone

At long last, the conca's crew returned to their control booth and opened the lock gates the hard and slow way: with a hand pump that required hundreds of strokes. (From a distance, it looked as if they were operating a bicycle tire pump.)

Leaving the Conca di San Leone

LA BELLA VITA on River Mincio near Mantua

La Bella Vita cruised out of the Conca di San Leone and up the River Mincio toward Governolo.

The riverbank had splashes of red poppies, which grow like weeds in uncultivated fields and other grassy areas of the Po region.

Mooring at Governolo on River Mincio

Within minutes, we were tied up at a pier near Governolo, where La Bella Vita's car and van would take us to Mantua.

<< Previous page

Next page >>

In this day-by-day photo diary:
Day 1 - Embarkation and Venice
Day 2 - Venice, Alberoni
Day 3 - Chioggia, Ca' Zen
Day 4 - Adria, Bagnoli Estate
Day 5 - Ferrara
Day 6 - Mantua
Day 7 - Disembarkation

Also see:
La Bella Vita cruise review (8 pages)
Satellite map of cruising region and high points
Venice for Visitors