Legendary Venice: St Mark's Basilica, Terrace and Doge's Palace

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We start in the world-famous St. Mark’s Square, taking a moment to appreciate the space before diving into St. Mark’s Cathedral. Here you will get a deep look at the way that Venice built a mercantile empire that once spanned the entire Mediterranean. As you gape at the mosaics and other treasures inside, your expert Venetian guide will explain how the city begged, borrowed, and yes, stole, almost all of them as it grew from a tiny island to one of the biggest powers in the Medieval world. You’ll also get special access to the first floor terrace where you can see the famous horses stolen from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade as well as amazing views over St Mark’s Square and the city.

Next it’s off to the Doge’s Palace, where pre-reserved tickets once again get us past the lines and inside what was the political heart of the empire for hundreds of years. Here you’ll visit the Doge’s own opulent apartments and the Hall of the Great Council where matters of state were decided under beautiful frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto, You’ll also see the armory and the New Prisons, where you’ll learn about the grim lives of anyone unlucky enough to be taken prisoner. You’ll also find out the secret behind the mysterious black veil that interrupts the official series of Doge’s portraits. Hint: it will make you not want to work in Venetian government.

Finally, you’ll wander over the Bridge of Sighs and learn why this romantic icon is a little more grim than you have probably been taught.

Venice is a beautiful city but it doesn’t really come to life until you have an expert, local Venetian guide to show you around and tell you the stories that take you deep into the history and lore of the city. In a small group of no more than 25 people you will have intimate access to your guide and be able to ask them all the questions you want about improbable history of one of the world’s most unique cities.

Sites Visited:

  • St. Mark's Basilica
  • St. Mark’s Square
  • Terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica
  • The Horses of St. Mark
  • Doge’s Palace (general access rooms)
  • New Prisons
  • Bridge of Sighs
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