Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy
Book Tour
View Tours
VIP Secret Passages Tour & St. Marks Basilica
Watch
Video

Key Details

  • City: Venice
  • Duration: 3hrs
  • Start Time: 12.45PM

Tour Highlights

  • The most complete tour of the Doge’s Palace, we’ll take you to special access areas not usually open to the public – including torture chambers and Casanova’s prison cell!

  • After your secret passages tour you'll skip notoriously long general access lines to get inside the Doge's Palace for a special tour by our local guide.

  • Traveling in small groups of max 15 people throughout, your journey will be intimate, while privileged access means you won’t queue at all.
Admire architecture at the Doge's Palace Doge's Palace courtyard & St. Mark's Basilica Doge's Palace courtyard & St. Mark's Basilica Doge's Palace courtyard & St. Mark's Basilica Painted roof panel, Doge's Palace Inside The Bridge of Sighs Inside The Bridge of Sighs The (not so) New Prisons Discover secret nooks at Palazzo Ducale Statues at the Doge's Palace Palazzo Ducale a.k.a. the Doge's Palace The Bridge of Sighs Meet in central Venice

EXTENDED TOUR DESCRIPTION

WITH SPECIAL ACCESS YOU’LL SEE MORE OF THE DOGE’S PALACE THAN MOST OTHER VISITORS.

You’ll meet your guide near the Doge’s Palace and head straight inside (no waiting in line for us) where a palace guard will unlock a secret door, allowing you to step into the hidden world of political Venice. Navigate the hidden prison cells reserved for VIP prisoners, torture chambers, secret government archives and top echelon offices. Even back in the day most Venetians didn’t know this space existed, so it’s hard to measure just how privileged our secret passages tour is. With their antique cabinets and creaky floors these rooms will truly make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

By exploring the secret passages, you get away from the crowds elsewhere in the Doge’s Palace and walk in the footsteps of Venice’s most colorful characters. Our favorite? Casanova, that legendary romantic – yes, he did exist! As you’ll learn, he deserves all of the lore. Against all odds, he was able to escape his cell here in the palace, a cell you’ll get to see exclusively in the secret passages tour.

SEE SECRET PASSAGES AND STUNNING BALLROOMS AT PALAZZO DUCALE.

Few visitors ever have the opportunity to walk the passages you’ve just walked yet still the Doge’s Palace is one of the top sights of Venice. See what all the fuss is about when you step back into general access areas of the palace to explore the waiting rooms, council halls and ballrooms of the palace. While our secret passages tour is full of dark secrets and hidden rooms, the general access part of this tour is all pomp and grandeur – visiting some of Venice’s finest works of art.

You’ll discover the public face of the Republic of Venice with your expert guide, from the Doge’s own lavish apartments to the Hall of the Great Council. Admire beautiful and dramatic paintings by Veronese and Tintoretto and explore the magnificent halls that demonstrate the prestige of the Venetian Republic.

SKIP THE LINE ACCESS AT ST MARK'S BASILICA

Round off your experience with a visit to Venice's other great site; St. Mark's Basilica. Since you're traveling with a local guide, you'll have use of a special entrance at the Basilica, potentially saving you up to an hour of waiting in line. Once inside, your guide will give you a full tour of the Basilica, from the east-meets-west architecture to the stunning gold mosaics. Nowhere pays homage to the city's past so much as St Mark's Basilica, a structure which benefited greatly from the pillaging of Venetians abroad. In fact, even the relics of St. Mark, held here, were stolen.

Blending so many world influences, it's a perfect microcosm of Venetian style and history. And like the Doge's Palace, it holds plenty of prime storytelling material for your guide.

SMALL GROUPS, SPECIAL ACCESS, LOCAL GUIDES. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?

Throughout your tour you’ll travel in small groups of only 15 people or fewer so you’ll find that your guide is always easy to hear and engage with. Ask all the questions you want – our guides are Venetian locals who spend a lot of time in the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark's Basilica, so you’ll find it hard to catch them out. They’re passionate about the history and art of Venice and about sharing that passion with you, so they’d love to hear your queries.

With privileged entrance, we save time waiting in line, while special access allows us to go far beyond the usual visitor experience for an adventure into the Doge’s Palace secret passages. Leave no stone unturned or door unopened on this complete, comprehensive, and thoroughly VIP exploration of the history and art of Venice!

Please note that due to Doge's Palace rules, we cannot accommodate children under 6 years old in the Secret Passages.

Sites visited

  • Casanova’s prison cell
  • Torture chamber
  • Secret archives
  • Hall of the Great Council
  • Courtrooms, the Doges’ Apartments
  • Sala dello Scrutinio
  • Palace Armory
  • New Prisons
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • St.Mark's Basilica

Included

  • Special access to the Doge’s Palace Secret Passages
  • Tickets & reservation fees
  • Expert Walks of Italy tour guide
  • Small groups of 15 or fewer
  • Headsets
  • Skip the line tour of St.Mark's Basilica

Reviews

5-stars from over 40 Customer Reviews

Very pleasant guide. A little late getting started organizing multiple groups for same walk. Informative walk
Excellent tour with a knowledgable guide. I highly recommend this tour.
Natalia was our guide. Brimming with knowledge she made the tour come to life and heighten the 'reveal' of the absolutely fabulous Basilica being lit up at night. A fantastic tour guide for an outstanding place. Well worth it!
Our guide was fabulous. She engaged and immersed us in the history of the Doges Palace. Highly recommended.
Excellent and very interesting and I would recommend this to all my friends
It was Nicoletta who made the tour outstanding for us. He enthusiasm, great fund of information, and presentation all made for a great tour.
The guide was one of the best we have ever had on a tour. Very knowledgeable and engaging.
Really nice tour. Informative guides who seem enthusiastic. Lots of great information.
Marco was our guide
This tour was a highlight of Venice. Susan, our guide was spectacular, full of information that was presented in a very interesting and easy to follow manner. Highly recommended!
This tour is a must do...Marco is just brilliant with his delivery and knowledge
Marco was fabulous. Extremely knowledgeable and engaging, with just the right touch of humor. We would highly recommend him and this tour. We took the tour on a very crowded day, and were able to enjoy a very private experience without a lot of people around us.
Marco was a great guide, full of good humor which made learning so much enjoyable.
Just fabulous. Susan has so much knowledge and passion to share . We can't recommend more
Loved our guide and we had a wonderful tour. The best!
The tour was very good, worth doing the secret passages. The guide was very informative. Will use again.
We really enjoyed all of our tours. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and the tours were very interesting.
We took the morning walking tour with Mose and an afternoon tour VIP dodge palace & St Marks I don't remember his name. both guides were fantastic and were the highlights of our trip to Venice.
Susan was fantastic. She knew everything there was to know. We were late for the tour and the office contacted and we were able to meet up with the tour. It was a fantastic experience and very worthwhile. Thanks
Very good!
This was an amazing tour. Our guide Sara was so knowledgable & was able to answer every question we had.We learned so many interesting facts that weren't in any of our tour books.
This was a VERY good tour and I would recommend it to anyone. The small group size and 'secret' areas visited make it well worth the money. Mose is a terrific guide.

Important information

Before you travel, please read our important notes about possible disruptions & site entrance requirements

Please note that the Doge's Apartments are currently closed for an exhibition and are not expected to re-open until late July (date not yet confirmed).

Due to Doge's Palace regulations, children under the age of 6 are not permitted inside the secret passages and therefore cannot take this tour.

The prisons and secret passages are not wheelchair-accessible, nor is the route suitable for those with walking disabilities or for pregnant women. Please contact us at info@walksofitaly.com if you have walking disabilities or if you are in a wheelchair to discuss alternative tours.

Book Another Tour Now & Save 10%!
(Offer valid on these tours only)
When booking this tour you’ll have the option to add any of the below to your cart.
Book both tours together and save 10% on the second tour.
Offer only valid on listed tours purchased at the same time. Non-transferable.
SAVE
10%
Welcome to Venice
$79.97
More Info
from
$71.97
SAVE
10%
VIP Alone in St. Mark’s Basilica
$103.15
More Info
from
$92.84
SAVE
10%
Venice Food Tour with Markets & Gondola
$85.77
More Info
from
$77.19
Very pleasant guide. A little late getting started organizing multiple groups for same walk. Informative walk
(No comment)
(No comment)
The Doges Palace tour was excellent and everything I hoped for. St Marks was rushed and I wish we had more time. I also thought we would be left inside to tour on our own instead of ending outside... especially since it felt like we only had 15 mins there. There were few questions from the group so the guide was in total control of the pace and should have allowed more time in St Marks
Excellent tour with a knowledgable guide. I highly recommend this tour.
Natalia was our guide. Brimming with knowledge she made the tour come to life and heighten the 'reveal' of the absolutely fabulous Basilica being lit up at night. A fantastic tour guide for an outstanding place. Well worth it!
Our guide (Marie Thérèse) was a great storyteller, so we loved the tour. Unfortunately St. Mark's Basilica was closed and no one had informed the guide in advance.
Our guide was fabulous. She engaged and immersed us in the history of the Doges Palace. Highly recommended.
(No comment)
Excellent and very interesting and I would recommend this to all my friends
St Mark's Basilica was closed and the guide was informed about that very late.
Obviously not the fault of our guide or Walks of Italy but St Mark's basilica was closed the day of our trip and we didn't know until it was time to go inside. I felt like we missed out on something I was excited about and were unable to visit the next day because the tour was the last thing we did. Our guide was funny and wonderful and I would have enjoyed seeing the basilica with her!
(No comment)
Guide was very professional and nice. She did, however, tend to repeat herself three times when she was explsining something. It happenened throughout the tour. Also, as we were trying to get photos, she would start walking away. Example, I was trying to snap a photo of the Bridge of Sighs and there were several people in front taking photos. Our group of 3 couldn't get the photo because she had walked away and we lost communication with her and had to walk away quickly to catch up.
Our tour guide went over the top providing information and educational responses. This was probably the best tour i have ever had. She was excellent, and the tour was memorable. We tried taking additional walks tours later on our trip, however we couldn't find available tours in the time frame we had. Thanks though.
It was Nicoletta who made the tour outstanding for us. He enthusiasm, great fund of information, and presentation all made for a great tour.
Our tour of the secret palace was great. Unfortunately, St. Mark's Basilica was closed, but your company refunded us 30% of the ticket price. We thought that was fair. We will choose your company again.
(No comment)
Marie- Theresa was brilliant and gave a brilliant overview of the Doges palace and basilica. The knowledge of history and art was impeccably imparted. Maria-Theresa really did a fabulous job in guiding our family. We felt as if we were in a private tour with the headsets on and amount of attention she individually gave to our queries. We'd definitely do again!
(No comment)
Tour of Doge's Palace took around 30% too long. Guide informative and engaging but descriptions often repetitive and slow. St Mark's part better paced.
The guide was one of the best we have ever had on a tour. Very knowledgeable and engaging.
I enjoyed both tours and found the audio system to work really well. Mose did a particularly good job on the VIP Access Tour in Venice. I must have asked him six or seven questions and he always had an answer. His knowledge of art history and ability to tell stories were very impressive. The boat tour was also interesting, as the guide shared a good perspective of a person native to the city. If I have a chance to visit other cities in Italy, I will likely contact this company again.
Freddy was our guide and she was fabulous. She gave us an insight in to daily life in Venice that we would otherwise not have known. Loved the walk around the markets and Freddy showed us the 'quieter' areas of Venice. All magic. Doge's Palace seemed to drag a little - but it is such a massive area and has so much to show that I truly cannot think of what could have been removed from this part of the tour. The less touristy parts of Venice were the most memorable and we send our heartfelt thanks to Freddy for explaining what life is like for a true Venetian
Really nice tour. Informative guides who seem enthusiastic. Lots of great information.
Marco was our guide
This tour was a highlight of Venice. Susan, our guide was spectacular, full of information that was presented in a very interesting and easy to follow manner. Highly recommended!
This tour is a must do...Marco is just brilliant with his delivery and knowledge
Marco was fabulous. Extremely knowledgeable and engaging, with just the right touch of humor. We would highly recommend him and this tour. We took the tour on a very crowded day, and were able to enjoy a very private experience without a lot of people around us.
Marco was a great guide, full of good humor which made learning so much enjoyable.
Just fabulous. Susan has so much knowledge and passion to share . We can't recommend more
Loved our guide and we had a wonderful tour. The best!
The tour was very good, worth doing the secret passages. The guide was very informative. Will use again.
We really enjoyed all of our tours. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and the tours were very interesting.
We toured with 4 different companies while in Italy, and Walks of Italy was by far our favorite. Wonderful, smart guides who are easy to interact with and make learning fun. Unfortunately we missed our last tour in Venice because we mixed up the days. We were SO disappointed. We called Walks of Italy and they gave a full refund, minus the price of the museum tickets. Very kind of them. Unfortunately we did not receive a phone call when we were late to the tour because we would have been able to arrive late... but, overall, it was our fault for mixing up the dates. Thanks for a great time, Walks of Italy. We hope to return very soon.
We took the morning walking tour with Mose and an afternoon tour VIP dodge palace & St Marks I don't remember his name. both guides were fantastic and were the highlights of our trip to Venice.
Susan was fantastic. She knew everything there was to know. We were late for the tour and the office contacted and we were able to meet up with the tour. It was a fantastic experience and very worthwhile. Thanks
Very good!
This was an amazing tour. Our guide Sara was so knowledgable & was able to answer every question we had.We learned so many interesting facts that weren't in any of our tour books.
This was a VERY good tour and I would recommend it to anyone. The small group size and 'secret' areas visited make it well worth the money. Mose is a terrific guide.