Step back to the glory days of Venice when you visit two of the most famous and important buildings in this fabulous city.
Led by an expert guide, explore the splendid Palazzo Ducale, which for centuries represented the hub of Venetian political power. See the magnificent council chambers embellished with stunning artworks and climb the sumptuous ‘Golden Staircase’.
Relive the anguish of condemned prisoners crossing the Bridge of Sighs and learn about the exploits of Casanova, once a ‘guest’ in the Doge’s grim prisons.
Marvel at the golden ceiling mosaics and marble inlays in the Basilica San Marco, and gasp when you see the gem-encrusted altar screen and the glittering contents of the Treasury. Your trip includes Skip the Line access to the Palazzo and Basilica, so you won’t have to wait in a queue.
When your tour of the historic buildings is over, you will be treated to a free 2-hour excursion by boat to the famous glass-making island of Murano where you will be given a glassblowing demonstration.
The tour starts at 1045h (10:45am) at the exchange office ‘YEX’ at the Clock Tower in St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). You will be led by an expert guide and the languages spoken on the tour will vary according to the day of the week.
You will visit the Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale), once the residence of the Doge, the Chief Magistrate and leader of the Venetian Republic. Your tour includes a ‘Skip the Line’ ticket to the Palace which means you don’t have to waste time queuing. It also includes an audio receiver which amplifies the commentary by your guide so that you can hear everything clearly.
Built in Gothic style, the Palace dates from the 14th century. You will see the magnificent Grand Council Chamber (or Sala del Maggior Consiglio) where up to 2000 members of the aristocracy could meet at one time. Designed to impress, this monumental hall is covered in sumptuous decoration and contains the world’s largest oil painting, ‘Paradise’ by the renowned master Tintoretto and his son Domenico.
Climb the beautiful Golden Staircase (Scala d'Oro), with its gleaming golden stucco, to view the rooms once used by the Doge. Today, these are unfurnished thanks to looting by Napoleon's army, but you can still see the glorious ceilings and imposing stone fireplaces.
Enter the Hall of the Council of the Ten, former meeting place of the most feared Tribunal of the Venetian Republic. Those found guilty by this court would be thrown into the grim Palace Prisons. View these prisons and hear the story of one of the most famous inmates, the adventurer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova, who made a brilliant escape from the upper floor.
And of course you will see the renowned Bridge of Sighs, which connects the Old Prisons in the Doge’s Palace with the New Prisons beyond the Palazzo River.
Your tour also includes ‘Skip the Line’ entry to the majestic Basilica San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica), the greatest of Venice’s monuments. Built in the 9th century, this huge Basilica (or Cathedral) is one of the world’s best examples of Byzantine architecture.
Marvel at the stunning golden ceiling mosaics telling the story of the Gospels over an expanse of 8,000 square meters. View the incredible San Marco Treasury – a vast assemblage of gold, silver, glass and other precious materials. Many of these were brought back from conquests in the Holy Land when Venice was at the height of its power.
But save your greatest admiration for the Basilica’s most precious possession – the eye-popping Pala d'Oro, an exquisite altar screen made from hundreds of pieces of enamel stuck onto gold leaf and enriched with all kinds of gems: sapphires, garnets, pearls, emeralds, amethysts, rubies, agate and topaz.
Your tour of the Doge’s Palace and Basilica will take around 2 hours and you will then enjoy a free return trip by private boat to Murano Island. Here you can visit a factory to see Murano’s famous glass being made.
The excursion to Murano takes around 2 hours. At the end, you will be dropped close to St Mark’s Square.
great guide + small group. Worth doing, interesting talk...Mrs S Richardson
Great tour of the best of Venice with really good local guide to provide plenty of historical context....Ben Silverstein
We were very grateful to being able to skip the long lines of people waiting to enter St. Marks Basilica and Doges Palace. Our guide was very enthusiastic and informative. ...LS Oosthuizen
01 Apr - 31 Oct:
English/ French/ German/ Spanish Tour: Daily except Sunday
01 Nov - 31 Mar:
English Tour: Daily except Sunday
French Tour: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
German Tour: Monday & Friday
Spanish Tour: Wednesday & Saturday
Approx 4 hours
Duration: Approx 4 hours
Meet your guide at the exchange office ‘YEX’ at the Clock Tower, Saint Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco).
Please report at the meeting point 15 minutes before the start time. This is mandatory to allow time for pre-departure briefing.
The tour ends at Saint Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)
Comfortable shoes are recommended. For security reasons sacks, bags or knapsacks are not allowed inside the Basilica and Doges Palace. Modest dress is required for visiting the Cathedral (no shorts or tank tops)
Please arrive at the meeting point 15 minutes before departure time.
Some days, due to church services or exceptional high tides, access to the Basilica and Doges Palace may not be possible. The tour can be held the next day or reimbursed
The tour guide may be speaking 2 or 3 languages depending on the needs of the group.
Voucher information: You must print and surrender a paper version of your booking voucher for this activity (showing your voucher on a smartphone is not accepted). No refund can be given for customers without a printed copy of their voucher
See the Cancellation policy for this product