Venice, Italy - St. Mark's Basilica TourMay 18, 2017 in Italy ⋅
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Legendary Venice: St. Mark's Basilica with Terraces & Doge's Place Tour
Meeting in St. Mark’s Square we’ll take a few moments to appreciate this incredible space before using our privileged entrance to skip long lines and gain immediate access to the Basilica. Absolutely enormous, the Basilica has 43,000 square feet of mosaic alone! Its history, which dates back to the 9th century, is just as hard to get your mind around. But there’s no understanding Venice without understanding St. Mark’s Basilica.
On our St. Mark’s Basilica tour, your guide will take you far beyond the guidebook to really understand St. Mark’s Basilica and Venice as a whole. Hear the swashbuckling tale of the basilica’s founding (a story that involves an angelic prophecy and a bold theft!) and explore the church’s countless treasures. One such treasure is the bronze horses, which you will see up close during your special access visit to the balcony. With this access, your guide will also have an opportunity to speak with you inside the basilica too (not usually afforded to groups), using their time on the balcony to help you really appreciate the ceiling mosaics up close.
The cherry on top comes as you walk outside onto the terraces themselves. From here you'll witness the most beautiful views in all of Venice, over St Mark's Square and past the Doge's Palace down into the lagoon.
UNEARTH SECRET TALES OF POWER AND CORRUPTION AT THE DOGE’S PALACE – PLUS SOME INCREDIBLE ART!
St. Mark’s Basilica is only the tip of the iceberg though. The Doge’s Palace was the real heart of the Republic of Venice – home to the duke, the government, torture chambers, prisons and so much more. Our Doge’s Palace tours show you the best, telling you stories of scandal and politics that you won’t believe (but you should, we’d never lie to you.)
We’ll skip the line here, too, taking you right to the heart of Venice’s power and history, 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 frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Learn the secret behind why the painted series of doges is interrupted by a mysterious black veil (hint: it has to do with a beheading); 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 as part of your Doge’s Palace tour, and the so-called ‘New Prisons’ where your guide will teach you about the grim life of a Venetian prisoner. You’ll cap it all off with the Bridge of Sighs, which you’ll learn isn’t quite as romantic as you thought. But a bridge that connects interrogation rooms to prison cells will be that way.
Hint - Bridge of Sighs - But what bemuses me most about the fracas to get a shot in front of the Bridge of Sighs is that the whole significance of the bridge is the views it gives out over Venice. In case you didn’t know, the bridge is so named because prisoners inside the Doge Palace would walk through the interior of the bridge on the way to their execution in St Mark’s Square. The bridge and the tiny lattice gaps gave prisoners their very last view out over Venice before they died. And that last view is thought to have induced a final sigh at Venice’s beauty, hence the name: Bridge of Sighs.Read more