In ancient times, Padua and Venice were connected by typical river boats, called Burchielli.
The Burchiello was a wooden boat to carry passengers, with an elegant cabin, decorated with mirrors, carvings of great value, colours and with three or four balconies, carved in a refined way. It was driven by the power of the wind or by the oars in the lagoon and then drawn by horses from Fusina to Padua, along the Brenta Riviera.
On board the Venetian "Dolce Vita" took place: noblemen and ladies, adventurers and canonicals, actors and artists created a particular and picturesque environment that made the trip pleasant to local and foreign travellers.
Perhaps any other boats had not a huge literature as the Burchielli, described for four centuries by Italian and foreign poets and novelists as Goldoni, Casanova, Byron, Goethe, Montaigne, D'Annunzio...
Goldoni described the Burchiello in one of his popular short poems, dated 1760:
Musa, cantiam del Padovan Burchiello la deliziosa, comoda vettura, in cui per Brenta viaggiasi bel bello dal gel difesi e dall'estiva arsura...
Parlo di quel vaghissimo Naviglio di specchi, e intagli e di pitture ornato, che ogni venti minuti avanza un miglio, da buon Rimurchio, e da Cavai tirato
The fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, after Napoleon's coming, the end of the Venetian patrician power and of the pomps in the villas of the hinterland marked the end of the journey for the Burchielli.
In 1960 the Tourism Provincial Authority decided to restart the interrupted service to offer the tourists the splendid sight of the seventy villas that stand from Padua to Venice, along the Brenta Riviera and that are linked to renowned artists as Tiepolo, Palladio, Veronese...
A Venetian white "vaporetto" was used for this purpose and it was called Burchiello.
At the end of the 80s that vaporetto was broken up.
Today the Burchiello is a modern and comfortable boat, equipped with a cabin and comfortable sofas, air-conditioning, a bar and toilets, and a panoramic deck that offers passengers a full view around
As it used to do in the past, nowadays the Burchiello operates as a long-distance touring service on the waterway called Riviera del Brenta, from Padua to Venice or vice-versa; the heir of old traditions, it slowly cruises the Brenta waters while tourist guides on board tell about the history, the culture and the art of the Villas that rise along the Brenta The programs offer navigation from Padua to Venice (Padua, Stra, Dolo, Mira, Oriago, Malcontenta, Fusina, Venice) or from Venice to Padua (Venice, Fusina, Malcontenta, Oriago, Mira, Dolo, Stra, Padua), plus the guided tour inside some Venetian Villas, the famous richly-frescoed summer dwellings of the Venetian aristocrats of the 1700's.
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