Getting on the water: At Fondo Mincio in Rivalta.
The itinerary crosses the Valli del Mincio Reserve, among groves of reeds, water lilies and lotus flowers, and reaches Lago Superiore (Upper Lake) just before Mantua; through former hunting areas (“giochi”) and numerous canals, it leads to Santuario delle Grazie.
For those that are not familiar with the marsh, a guide from Rivalta Canoeing Club is recommended. The scenery looks like a spot of East in the heart of the Po Plain. The “Valli” are a nature reserve, and the wetland is a small labyrinth among the groves of reeds. Paddling within the wetland holds many surprises, like getting up close with the numerous birds living in the area, but it may be difficult to find your bearings. That is why you should avail yourself of a guide, if you do not follow the river’s main branch.
Lago Superiore ends at the dam of Ponte dei Mulini, which keeps water about three metres higher than in Mantua’s other two lakes (Lago di Mezzo and Lago Inferiore). The dam cannot be crossed, therefore those wishing to go on to Lago di Mezzo and Lago Inferiore need to go ashore on the right side of Lago Superiore, near the railway metal bridge and the “Vasarina” sluice, cross the cycle path, go down before or after the railway bridge’s underground passage, and get on the water again from the shore of Lago di Mezzo. The itinerary crosses the whole lake, passing under San Giorgio bridge, towards Lago Inferiore, and coasts Mantua’s renaissance silhouette.