Meeting in St. Mark’s Square we take a few moments to appreciate this incredible space before using our pre-reserved entrance tickets to enter the Basilica. Absolutely enormous, the Basilica has 43 000 square feet of mosaic alone! Its history, which dates back to the 9th century, is just as hard to get your head around. But there’s no understanding Venice without understanding St. Mark’s Basilica.
On our St. Mark’s Basilica tour, your guide will take you far beyond the guidebook to really understand St. Mark’s Basilica and Venice as a whole. Hear the swashbuckling tale of the Basilica’s founding (a story that involves an angelic prophecy and a bold theft!) and explore the church’s countless treasures. One such treasure is the bronze horses, which you will see up close during your special access visit to the balcony. With this access, your guide will also have an opportunity to speak with you inside the Basilica (not usually afforded to groups), using their time on the balcony to help you really appreciate the ceiling mosaics up close.
The cherry on top comes as you walk outside onto the terraces themselves. From here you’ll witness the most beautiful views in all of Venice, over St Mark’s Square and past the Doge’s Palace down into the lagoon.
St. Mark’s Basilica is only the tip of the iceberg though. The Doge’s Palace was the real heart of the Republic of Venice home to the duke, the government, torture chambers, prisons and so much more. Our Doge’s Palace tours show you the best, telling you stories of scandal and politics that you won’t believe (but you should, we’d never lie to you.)
We’ll skip the line here too, taking you right to the heart of Venice’s power and history, from the Doge’s own lavish apartments to the Hall of the Great Council, where the city’s all-important general assembly made decisions before beautiful frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Learn the secret behind why the painted series of doges is interrupted by a mysterious black veil (hint: it has something to do with a beheading); discover just what the Doge really did, who he was and why you might not want the job yourself.
You’ll also get to explore the massive armory as part of your Doge’s Palace tour, and the so-called New Prisons where your guide will teach you about the grim life of a Venetian prisoner. You’ll cap it all off with the Bridge of Sighs, which you’ll learn isn’t quite as romantic as you thought.
In order to do justice to these incredible sites, we’ve kept our group sizes to only 25 people or fewer. You’ll have headsets throughout your tour, so you’ll be able to hear your guide clearly, engage with them and ask all the questions you want – a good thing too since they’re some of the best in the business.
We’ve spent years building the best team of guides, chosen for their knowledge, enthusiasm and friendliness. We know how important your guide is to the quality of your tour, so we only work with those who are passionate about sharing their passion for the history, art and stories of Venice with you.
For the best, most enjoyable and informative way to see the top sights of Venice, take a walk with us on our Legendary Venice Tour. Three hours, two top sites, and dozens of tales you’ll be retelling forever!