Cruising the area around the epic city of Venice on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, one is constantly reminded of man’s creative talents. The Venetian Peninsula is graced with incredible works of architecture serving as stunning backdrops to an abundance of sculpture, paintings, and elegant lifestyles created throughout the centuries.

One of the best ways to see this incredible city is from the water. There are several marinas in the area that accommodate larger yachts, with many amenities and services. The canals and Laguna Venezia are difficult to navigate with a sizable craft, however, so much of the exploration of the city itself is best left to water taxis and buses, with at least one romantic gondola ride on a special evening.

This itinerary explores the city and surrounding areas of interest spanning five days but is easily adjusted to accommodate one or more additional days in and around Venice, easily spent visiting galleries and museums, with some shopping and dining unique to the area. The plan directs to the north around the coast and over to Trieste, or alternately to the south and Ravenna, offering the opportunity to enjoy the luxury of the beautiful Adriatic Sea.

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Day 1: Venice offers many choices of marinas, depending on how long you’d like to stay, and whether you’d like to remain on board your private yacht or secure on shore lodging. Most cruising tours begin and end in the city of Venice. If you choose to spend some time here you will be well-rewarded. A must for any visit to Venice is a tour of St. Mark’s Square and Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, along with a cicchetti crawl to the local pubs, followed by a leisurely dinner. Choose the romantic waterside setting of Da Fiore for fresh local seafood, the exceptional Quadri overlooking St. Mark’s Square for fine Italian cuisine, or taxi out to the worthy Le Calandre to taste Italian food served either with a twist, or classically prepared.

Day two suggests visiting museums and galleries, connected with a canal cruise, a stroll around the Piazza San Marco, and a gondola ride to an evening repast. Day three heads out to the islands, Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Murano, known for its glass art, and Burano for its hand made lace, both present excellent shopping opportunities.

Whether you opt for a few days in Venice, or a single whirlwind tour, a few epic events should mark your calendar. If it is opera season, get tickets to Teatro Fenice. If it is football season, secure seats at Biennale Gardens for an outstanding game. Schedule a fabulous dinner at Osteria da Fiore or Da Remigio, followed by a Bellini at Harry’s Bar. Don’t forget to shop Vizio Virtu for the most outstanding chocolate treats in Venice. Note that private, after hours tours of the most popular spots can be arranged. Imagine viewing St. Mark’s Basilica with just you and your immediate group. Sublime, and worth every penny amid the crowds of the high travel season.

Day 2 (or Day 4) if you extended your stay in Venice): Head down to Ravenna, Justinian’s 500 A.D. stronghold, where the Church of San Vitale’s octagonal design and incredible mosaics provide a stunning view of life in Italy as Europe straddled between Roman and Medieval styles of art, religion, and culture. A lovely marina, spa, restaurant, and shops are all tucked into the Cervia Hotel Palace.

Day 3 (or Day 5, respectively): Cruise to Rimini, Riccione, and view the independent republic of San Marino, majestically poised above the beach resorts below. Some of Italy’s longest and finest beaches dot this coastline. Casual and quiet by day, with an occasional beach volleyball game or active swim group, the nightlife along Italy’s Rimini Riviera is boisterous and abundant. Your private yacht again provides a serene retreat after the crush of a busy on shore excursion.

Day 4 (or Day 6): Turning northward, cruise to Porto Corsini and the Paguro Archipelago, providing an exceptional dive site in the wreck twelve miles offshore. Explore the Po Delta’s aquatic life and waterfowl, and the Commacchio wetlands, with abundant shorebirds.

Day 5 (or Day 7): Navigate back toward Venice for a leisurely last day on your private yacht, enjoying the scenery, as well as the amenities on board.