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

EXTENDED TOUR DESCRIPTION

ENJOY A DOGE’S PALACE TOUR AFTER MOST VISITORS HAVE LEFT.

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.

ENTER ST. MARK’S BASILICA AFTER CLOSING FOR THE MOST EXCLUSIVE VISIT AVAILABLE.

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.

SMALL GROUPS, EXPERT LOCAL GUIDES & SPECIAL ACCESS – A TRULY VIP EXPERIENCE.

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)

Included

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

Reviews

5-stars from over 166 Customer Reviews

Our guide Susan was amazing. Everything was well explained and friendly too. Being there for there when the bascilica was amazing. Just wish that the torture chamber of Doge' s palace could be part of the tour.
Iole did an amazing job!
Our guide was Moses (sorry I don’t recall the French version of his name). He was one of the best guides we have had in any venue. Very informative, animated, very interesting narrative, personable, moved along at a comfortable pace. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour because of him!

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.

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Our guide Susan was amazing. Everything was well explained and friendly too. Being there for there when the bascilica was amazing. Just wish that the torture chamber of Doge' s palace could be part of the tour.
Iole did an amazing job!
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Our guide was Moses (sorry I don’t recall the French version of his name). He was one of the best guides we have had in any venue. Very informative, animated, very interesting narrative, personable, moved along at a comfortable pace. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour because of him!
Sabrina was outstanding. Loved the tour!!
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When you arrive it would be good if the person who is giving you your group badge could acknowledge you. There were many people , three separate groups I think & we couldn’t work out how the system was being organised for quite some time.
So far this has been the best Walks of Italy tour I have been on! The after hours St Marks Basilica access was very special and really contributed to making this a really special visit! Our guide Moses was really knowledgable but also very entertaining!
Our guide's enthusiasm and knowledge was fantastic. He made all the difference.
Loved the evening tour of St. Marks! The mosaics were so beautiful! Susan was a wonderful guide. She was so knowledgable and passionate about the subject. Highly recommend this tour.
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Elena was such a pleasure! Her explanations of The Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s made the experience so much better than it would have been on our own. I think our tour group was made up of 10 people but I cannot recall exactly as Elena made us feel like we on a private tour with the attention she gave us. I would highly recommend this tour!
Mose was awesome. His energy and knowledge really made this tour even more special. He answered all of questions, he was very engaging and had the whole group's attention. I would highly recommend Mose and Walks. AAA++
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The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly with plenty of time to spend in the different locations. Most enjoyable.
Fantastic Tour! Excellent guide! I highly recommend the evening tour! Considerably smaller crowds!
For us this set the standard for walking tours. We learned a tremendous amount, the pace was good, with enough time to just stop and appreciated some of the surroundings and paintings, and was timed perfectly. Susan was a joy and we rate this one of the highlights of our trip! Thank you!
Claire was very educated on the subject matter. She was engaging and kept the groups interest.
Our guide was great but we spent a lot of time outside the Doge Palace and in the courtyard and we’re very rushed inside. But the Basilica was magic at night without the crowds.
Outstanding tour guide and amazing tour!!
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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
Awesome!
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.