Duration: 3 hours
Start Time: 2:00 pm
Venice’s incomparable artistic and historical masterpieces will leave you breathless on this unforgettable three-hour experience. More than simply a guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, this experience brings both iconic buildings—and the historical characters behind them—to life.
Meeting in St. Mark’s Square, we’ll take a few breathtaking moments to appreciate the incredible sight before us as your guide prepares you for what is to come. With our pre-reserved, special access entrance tickets we will skip past the infamous long lines into St. Mark’s Basilica—a massive architectural and artistic achievement.
NB: Choose the 8 am time slot for an even more exclusive experience—our groups are able to access the basilica before it even opens to the public.
You'll travel far beyond the spaces highlighted in guidebooks as your guide exposes all the rudimentary facts, features, and stories of St. Mark's Basilica and Venice itself. Your guide will spin swashbuckling tales of the basilica's foundation (let's just say it involves an angelic prophecy and a brazen theft) and lead you to the church's innumerable treasures—including the intricate mosaics and original quadriga of four bronze horses, a millennia-old symbol of St. Mark's. You'll even enjoy exclusive access onto the balcony overlooking the whole of Piazza San Marco, the Doge's Palace, and a good portion of the Venetian lagoon.
Your time in St. Mark’s Basilica is only the tip of the iceberg. The Doge’s Palace was the heart of the Republic of Venice. It was home to the Doge (Duke) and Venetian government, and replete with everything from grandiose, gilded halls to grim torture chambers.
As you enter the palace (skipping once again past any lines), your guide will share stories of scandal and politics while leading you into the Doge's own lavish apartments and through to the Hall of the Great Council. It is here where you'll come face to face with the famed frescos of Veronese and Tintoretto and learn why the row of portraits of the Doges circling the hall is interrupted by a mysterious black veil. (Hint: It has to do with a beheading—how medieval!)
You’ll also explore the massive armory and the so-called "New Prisons," where your guide will share the grim life of a Venetian prisoner. You’ll cap it all off with a stroll through the interior of the Bridge of Sighs, which you'll learn isn't quite as romantic as modern-day folklore paints it to be.
In order to do justice to these incredible sites and your time in Venice, we’ve kept the group size limited to 25 people or fewer. You'll also have a headset, so you’ll be able to hear your guide clearly, engage with them and ask all the questions you want. Take advantage of their expertise—they’re truly 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 both passionate and knowledgeable about the history, art, and stories of Venice.
For the best, most enjoyable, and informative way to see the top sights of Venice, take a walk with us on this Legendary Venice tour. It’s three hours, two top sites, and dozens of tales you’ll be reliving forever!
*Please note that it is not possible to bring large backpacks on the tour. *