Duration: 3.5 hours
Start Time: Times vary
Due to Covid-19, this tour has been amended to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests. St Marks Basilica may be subject to visit restrictions, your tour will be ammended on the day to offer you the most comprehensive experience avaiable. Please also note that it is not possible to bring large backpacks on the tour.
You’ll meet your guide near the Doge’s Palace and head straight inside (no waiting in line for you) 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 overstate 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.
Few visitors ever have the opportunity to walk the passages you’ve just walked, yet the Doge’s Palace is still 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.
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 as 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. You'll also see the famous altarpiece, the Pala D'oro - no prizes for guessing which metal it's made from.
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.
Throughout your tour, you’ll travel in small groups of only 20 people or less, 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 six-years-old in the Secret Passages.