Best of Venice Walking Tour: Doge's Palace, Saint Mark's Basilica and Terrace
This walking tour gives insight on Venice’s history and culture with a thorough overview of all the city’s landmarks, from picturesque piazzas to its most famous sights. You’ll have the chance to go beyond the typical Venetian itinerary and discover the heart of the famous Floating City. This is the perfect tour for travellers who only have a short time to spend in Venice but who want to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s fascinating history, culture and architecture.
This tour starts at one of Venice’s must-see sights, the Rialto Bridge. Find your way through the winding streets with your guide; go over the tiny bridges of Venice as your group delves into the heart of the city. You’ll visit Marco Polo’s house and hear about the Venetian son who went to sea and came back with stories of China and a world in the East that few had ever seen. You’ll see the lively piazzas of Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo and Campo Santa Maria Formosa, where Byzantine influences, Renaissance buildings and modern structures tell the eclectic story of how the city developed.
You’ll see the Bridge of Sighs on your way to the final and most impressive stop - named after the prisoners that walked its length on their way to cells across the canal. As they took their last look at beautiful Venice they couldn’t help but sigh. After marveling over St. Mark’s Square (pronounced the “finest drawing room in all of Europe” by Napoleon), you’ll skip the long lines into St. Mark’s Basilica. Marvel at the diversity of Venetian culture as your guide points out the spots where eastern architecture and western design have blended to create a structure with an onion dome that could only have been made in Venice. With less time waiting outside we’ll have more time to admire the beautiful frescoes inside the basilica, before stealing some extra time with a climb up to St. Mark’s famous terraces. Rarely included on guided tours, the terraces offer beautiful views over the piazza, photo opportunities and some downtime to soak up everything you have learned on your guided tour.
The tour of this palace visits all the best sights open to the public. Marvel over ceilings frescoed by Tintoretto to show Justice presenting herself to the Doge while you think of all the feet that have shuffled on the tiles you stand on – ambassadors waited nervously in this very spot for an audience with the Doge in the Hall of Four Doors. Then are the plenty flattering pieces produced on request of the masters of the time – ‘Virtues of the Republic’ in the Council Room was Veronese’s rosy outlook on the state of his nation while ‘The Triumph of Venice’ in the Senate Hall was where Tintoretto paid his dues on a high ceiling.
In the Chamber of the Council of Ten, you’ll admire Veronese’s ‘Juno Bestowing her Gifts on Venice’ and your guide will point you in the direction of a dark corner, overpowered by the vibrant masterpiece. This unassuming slot was where friends and foes brutally accused each other of evil doings – warranted or not – accusations that were investigated and acted on with frightening brutality.