Walks of Italy

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St. Mark’s & Doge’s Palace

Key Details

  • City: Venice
  • Duration: 3.5 hrs
  • Start Time: 5 pm

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the two most famous sights of Venice in the most exclusive way. Enjoy an evening Doge’s Palace tour (when most visitors have left), then unlock the doors to enter St. Mark’s Basilica after closing time!

  • Visit grand council rooms, the Doge’s apartments and incredible frescos by Veronese & Tintoretto on our Doge’s Palace tour, the enjoy access to areas not usually seen by the public on our exclusive St. Mark’s visit.

  • Throughout your tour you’ll travel in small groups of 15 people or fewer. And since this late entry time at St. Mark’s is exclusive to Walks of Italy, we can guarantee a max of three other groups inside the huge basilica during your visit.

Evening entrance to the Doge's Palace See the Bridge of Sighs from outside Cross the Bridge of Sighs (inside!) Gold mosaic roof tiles, St. Mark's Basilica The Horses of St Mark St. Marks Basilica (photos: www.thetravellingeditor.com) Discover secret nooks at Palazzo Ducale Doge's Palace courtyard & St. Mark's Basilica Doge's Palace courtyard & St. Mark's Basilica



You’ll start your VIP evening at the Doge's Palace. What the Vatican is to Rome, the Doge's Palace is to Venice. For seven hundred years, this remarkable palace has been the home of not only the Doge (the Duke of Venice), but of Venice’s independent government, courts, and even prisons.

We’ll take you right to the heart of Venice’s power and history on our Doge’s Palace tour, 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 paintings by Veronese and Tintoretto. Learn the secret behind why the painted series of doges is interrupted by a mysterious black veil; 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, with all the weapons you wouldn’t have wanted to face, and the spooky prisons, where you wouldn’t have wanted to end up! Cap it all off with the Bridge of Sighs, which you’ll learn isn’t quite as romantic as you thought.


After a short break you’ll continue to St. Mark's Basilica where you’ll get the real treat, and the highlight of our tour. Here you’ll meet an official custodian of the basilica, who will unlock the doors to allow you inside. This VIP access is only available to Walks of Italy, so you’ll see the basilica almost alone!

Enter this stunning space and take a deep breath. You’re seeing the basilica as few visitors will ever see it – as only the Doge himself was allowed to see it – empty! There won’t be any crowding, bustling or shouting during your visit. Just the peace and tranquility with which this basilica, one of the world’s most impressive, should be seen.

There’s no one here to see so we’ll take full advantage of our VIP visit. You’ll visit the Pala d’Oro, a stunning Byzantine altarpiece covered in over 1,900 gems and usually blocked by a very long line. You'll also have a special visit to the crypt, where our custodian friend will unlock the door for you. Above ground get up close to the basilica altar, where your guide will tell you the strange story of how the bones of St. Mark came to rest so far from where they originally lay.

While you’re there, be sure to look up. Night is the best time to admire the basilica’s 43,000 square feet of mosaics, shimmering through the dark.


Traveling in small groups of only 15 people or fewer throughout your experience, you’ll find it easy to hear and engage with your guide – and to ask all the questions you can think of. Listen to tales of swashbuckling merchants who fitted the basilica with stolen jewels and precious stones; how it was that Casanova escaped from the Doge’s Palace; and how Venice manage to earn the title of the world’s oldest republic.

On this in-depth, exclusive tour, you won’t just see the two most important sights in Venice; you’ll explore them and by the end of your time with us, understand them. Hand-chosen for their knowledge, enthusiasm and friendliness, our local Venetian guides are the perfect hosts to help you get the most from your Venetian adventure.

Sites visited

  • Private access to St. Mark's Basilica at night
  • Pala d'Oro
  • St. Marks' Basilica Crypt
  • St. Mark's Square
  • Doge's Palace (including the Hall of the Great Council, courtrooms, the Doge's apartments, and Sala della Scrutinio)
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Palace Armory
  • Prisons
  • Bell Tower (outside)
  • The Maricana Library (outside)
  • Torre d'Orologio (outside)


  • Exclusive St. Mark’s Basilica tickets
  • Doge’s Palace tickets
  • Small groups of 15 people or fewer
  • Expert Walks of Italy tour guide


5-stars from over 144 Customer Reviews

Spectacular!! This was the best tour we had while on our vacation!
We LOVED our tour! Susan was fantastic - SO knowledgeable and knew how to get our group to the best spots!

Important information

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

The prisons and the armory of the Doge's Palace are not wheelchair-accessible.

Please remember that the basilica is a holy place and attire must be appropriate. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. Walks of Italy cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to improper dress. Backpacks are prohibited inside of St. Mark's Basilica.

This tour runs rain or shine. However, occasionally St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace are closed to the public, without previous notice, due to high tides or particular festivities.

Please note that there will be a short break (15-30 min) between your visit to the Doge’s Palace and your after-hours visit at St.Mark’s Basilica.

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.
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Spectacular!! This was the best tour we had while on our vacation!
The tour was fantastic! The access of the areas that are normally off limits was great and the relaxed pace was very appreciated. Francesca was very informative and we appreciated the fact that she was enthusiastic about relaying the information to us about St. Mark's and the Doge's Palace. We highly recommend her and this tour. Gary
We LOVED our tour! Susan was fantastic - SO knowledgeable and knew how to get our group to the best spots!
Great tour. You could feel our guide's enthusiasm!
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Mose was the perfect guide! He was extremely interesting, knowledgeable and personable. We learned so much, and thoroughly enjoyed our tour with him. Being in such a small group, basically alone in both the basilica and the palace, was the highlight of our trip to Venice. It's a wonderful opportunity that your company provides to visitors. Thank you so much!
I'm sorry I haven't done the Trip Advisor rating yet....had to have back surgery. This tour was FABULOUS. One of the best tours we have ever had and an incredibly personable and knowledgeable guide. He deserves 10 stars. We would love to tour with him again.
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We had a FABULOUS almost private, after-hours tour of the San Marco Basilica and the Doge's Palace with Susan ("SusanR10") as our excellent well-spoken and knowledgeable Guide. This tour was the absolute highlight of our brief 2-day stay last month in Venice. The reservation & payament process online was easy as pie, the pre-tour information was comprehensive and crystal-clear, and the staff on deck for the tour were helpful, personable, and organized. This tour is a $-splurge on the face of it, but when one takes into consideration the depth and breadth of the information conveyed by the Guide, her attention to the small group's needs--be it bathroom visits, rest stops or snacks-- the price paid was worth every penny. We appreciated the academic background of our Guide, which made her uniquely versed in the history and artistic details of the mosaics and artwork seen on the tour. We are certain we would never have received the depth of knowledge and historical background such as Susan provided on any run-of-the-mill tour. We will absolutely seek other tours from Walks of Italy on our next visit, and we especially hope that the company will continue to expand the locales covered--British Isles? France? Scandaanavia? Thank you very much for this super experience.
The guide's mic would drop away from her mouth and the broadcast was broken. This was OK but unpleasant. The "hot mike" needs to be worn on the head.
Susan was an amazing guide. Friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about Venician culture. Also extremely considerate of her jet lagged participants!
Mose did a great job. Very informative!
The tour was absolutely fantastic; excellently organised, unique, special and made by Elena who was engaging, interesting, passionate and knowledgeable. It made our holiday-thank you so much. Ps the after hours basilica was a particularly amazing part of the tour I will never forget. Thank you.
Sabrina was an amazing tour guide - knowledgeable, interesting, engaging. Touring the palace with her made the place come alive with history and context. We were able to go into St. Mark's after dark with only two other groups, and it was an intimate, magical experience. Walks of Italy is a really professional, well run organization!
I wish I had found you for all the tours I booked! We loved it! Thanks
Absolutely the BEST tour I've ever taken anywhere. Our guide was absolutely fantastic. I recommend you do what ever it takes to hold onto her. She is a wonderful example of what a guide should aspire to.
We loved our tour! Marie Terese was great, very informative and a great sense of humour. Joanne and Jeff, Toronto Canada
This was an outstanding tour and guide. My husband, two teenagers, and I really enjoyed it.
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Alone in St. Mark's and Doge's Palace was wonderful tour especially St. Mark's Basilica to see the sights quickly, without the crowds and heat and to see some spectacular sights not available to the general public. Andrea was an amazing guide with a passion and knowledge that made for an informative tour.
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Best tour. A must do.
Our guide was wonderfully enthusiastic and informative. Great to visit without the crowds and lines. The time of day blends nicely into a late dinner and evening gondola ride after, if you so choose.
Extremely exceptional guide. Marina was extremely knowledgeable, clear, articulate, engaging and wonderful throughout the long tour. I would recommend her without hesitation. I had been to both the Basilica and palace 3 times prior. She was superior and made me love Venice all the more
Delighted with the format and delivery of information. The tour was fascinating and offered so much more than anticipated.
Mose was excellent. As all the tour guides we had from Walks of Italy, his knowledge and passion for the material was outstanding. Having private "after hours" access was great too. When you see the lines of people waiting to get in, you really appreciate the tours. Getting in after it closes to see areas normally closed to the public is awesome. I would not consider any other tour.
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Perhaps the very best tour, of many, many tours throughout the world. Of course St. Marks is fabulous, even more so after hours, but our guide's extreme knowledge & enchanting personality made it as good as it could be. He was booked up, or we would have gladly paid him for additional private tours.
Superb tour from Moses! One of the best tours out there because of the exclusive access to the Basilica and the stunning result of the lights on.
Absolutely enjoyed this tour! My family said it was the best tour we had for the 10 days that we spent in Italy. The guide was really interactive and explained things in a way that kept the audience captivated. Most definitely would do another tour with your company again!
Our guide Andrea was knowledgeable and fun and more importantly did not bore two teenage boys as he was relating the history of the Doges palace and St Mark's
Mirco, our guide, was truly amazing
Our guide (Moses- don't recall Italian spelling) was wonderful. My whole family was very pleased.
The guide (I forget her name) was very knowledgeable and interactive with everyone in the group. I very much enjoyed the tour.
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Susan was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The ability to tour these venues without the throngs of other tourists was invaluable for enjoying the experience! Highly recommend this tour, particularly with Susan as the guide.
Brilliant. Everything I have come to expect of Walks of Italy. Such a privilege to be in St Mark's by ourselves
The number 1 must do tour in Venice. The Doge Palace is almost empty and St Mark's only had 40 people. The lighting of St Mark's is amazing and is worthy every dollar to see it with your own eyes. Now add to all this an amazing local guide Mirko, who has great knowledge and passion for his city and you have the best tour in Venice. No regrets would do it again.
Loved this opportunity to see St Marks and the Doge's Palace without the crowds!! Francesca was an amazing guide, able to answer all the random questions our group had for her. The only thing we did not like about the tour was that the size of our group was large (18 or 20 people I think) due to another guide calling in sick at the last minute and groups having to be combined.
A unique tour! It was conducted "after hours" which meant we nearly had St. Mark's & Doge's Palace to ourselves. Susan, our guide, was enthusiastic, extremely knowledgeable, and very attentive. The one "hiccup" was that our group was a little larger than advertised. This provided problems while walking through the prison's narrow passages and the "Bridge of Sighs" because the longer the line, the further away you were from the guide which, at times, resulted in static or loss of audio in the ear pieces. All in all, we would still highly recommend adding this tour to your itinerary.
Wonderful tour and guide. I will provide a 5 star rating to trip advisor soon.
Francesca was fantastic, we really liked her. The moment when the light are switched on in the Basilica was memorable. The only slight complaint that I think we were supposed to be up to 12 in the group but we were certainly around 20 persons.
Susan was absolutely amazing as a guide! Her knowledge and passion shine throughout the tour. I would highly recommend her as a guide. Quite simply the best.
This was a great tour and Mose was informative and entertaining. There are only two things I would like to include to the current event 1) the upper floor of St Mark's to see it from the balcony and visit the horses (I believe this is normally available during the day for 5 euro); and 2) to somehow convince the authorities to let us take photo's inside St Mark's - it seems this sometimes happens, but is a bit dependent on the night.
We were delighted with the after hours tour. Francesca's knowledge and delivery was excellent. Many thanks