Duration: 3.5 hours
Start Time: time varies
Explore the two most famous sights of Venice in the most exclusive way. Enjoy an after-hours Doge’s Palace tour (when all 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 and Tintoretto on our Doge’s Palace tour, then 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 20 people or less. 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
On certain days there may be a short break between the visit to the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica (never more than one hour). This may extend the overall length of the tour.
__Covid Update. __ At Walks we take your health and the health of our community seriously. We would like to remind you that Italy is updating its COVID regulations. Please visit here to find and follow local regulations.
You’ll start your VIP evening at the Doge's Palace just as the doors close, leaving you almost alone to explore with your small group. What the Vatican is to Rome, the Doge's Palace is to Venice. For 700 years, this remarkable palace has been home to not only the Doge (the Duke of Venice), but to 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 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 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 Casanova escaped from the Doge’s Palace; and how Venice managed 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. Handpicked for their knowledge, enthusiasm and friendliness, our local Venetian guides are the perfect hosts to help you get the most from your Venetian adventure.