Your comprehensive walking tour of Venice – experience the Doge's Palace, Saint Mark's Basilica, as well as some of the most evocative and important places in the city's central neighborhood s of San Marco, Cannaregio, and Castello.
Start Time: 9:00 am
Tour departs from under the Clock Tower in Saint Mark’s Square.
Tour must be reserved with 3 working days advance.
Duration: 4 hours
Tour is available every day except Sunday, at 9:00 am.
April to October at 9:00 am in the following languages:
- English, French, Spanish, German
- Saturdays: Italian
November to March at 9:00 am in the following languages:
- English: Daily
- Spanish: Wednesday and Saturday
- German: Monday and Friday
- French: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- Saint Mark's Basilica is a place of worship. Please respect the site by wearing proper attire – no shorts or miniskirts, no bare shoulders. Visitors may be refused entry if dressed inappropriately.
- Due to security reasons, sacks, bags, or knapsacks are not allowed inside the Basilica.
- Visit during liturgical celebrations is not permitted.
Absolute Venice Walking Tour
Your walking tour departs from the very heart of Venice, the Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square). Your first stop is right here, where your expert guide will give you a picture of the square's origins and history, as well as a description of the main monuments here in the center of the Republic of Venice's power – Saint Mark's Basilica, the Ducal Palace, the Bell Tower, the Clock Tower, and the Procuratie (literally “procuracies,”, which housed the offices and the apartments for the administration for the “Serenissima” Republic of Venice).
Your walk will then continue to the nearby campo (square) of Santa Maria Formosa, where you'll hear about the history as well as some anecdotes related to this wonderful and characteristic square, one of the few larger ones in Venice. A favorite meeting place for Venetians, this campo is connected by 9 calli (streets) and 11 bridges, a few of which simply lead to the entrances of palaces.
Follow your guide to another characteristic square – the Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Situated at the northern end of the center of Venice, it is famous for the magnificent entrance way to the city hospital with the Great School of Charity, the Captains of Fortune, as well as for the large church of Saints John and Paul, the "Pantheon" of Venice (25 of the doges are buried here).
Your last stop on this part of the tour will be Marco Polo’s House and the Malibran Theater, again only minutes away. Your guide will share anecdotes as well as past and recent history which interweave in this beautiful corner of Venice where the European who discovered China grew up in a Venetian merchant family.
You will then return to San Marco through the Mercerie, a vital connection between Rialto and San Marco, and the main street for city shopping.
The Palazzo Ducale was for centuries the seat of the Venetian political power. In the palace's splendid rooms, which are filled with stupendous art work, the Doge and his Council controlled the fate of a republic that would last for a thousand years.
Your expert guide will show you the halls of power, where you'll be able to imagine a very particular historical context – the European Middle Ages and the immediately following centuries. Let yourself be surprised by the rich details of the gold staircase, the realism of the scenes depicted by the many artists who decorated this building.
You'll end your visit of the Doge's Palace by walking the Bridge of Sighs, where you'll be able to picture the anguish of the prisoners crossing it to enter the feared Venetian prisons, famous for hosting Giacomo Casanova.
Saint Mark's Basilica:
Saint Mark's Basilica is the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Venice, and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the city's most famous and most visited church, and a prime example of the Byzantine style. Because of its rich design and gilded mosaics, the church is often simply referred to as “the Golden Basilica.”
Saint Mark’s Basilica contains over 4,000 feet of magnificent mosaics covered in rubies, emeralds, marble, and gold, making it a veritable jewelry box. The first church was built to celebrate the arrival of the body of Saint Mark in Venice in 828, cunningly stolen from Alexandria by Venetian merchants. After a fire a second building was erected in 976, after which the Basilica was rebuilt entirely and completed in 1096.
The Basilica of Saint Mark was originally the Doge's private place of worship. Until 1807, the church of San Pietro di Castello was the seat of the Archdiocese and the city's official cathedral.
At this point in your tour, you'll have the pleasure to admire the beautiful gold mosaics and marble inlays of the floors, sitting comfortably while your guide shows you the represented biblical scenes, the history, and the particularities of this ancient basilica – including the “Pala d'Oro,” the high altar retable, exquisite example of Byzantine art with its thousands of gems and precious stones. Your tour will close with a look at the Cathedral Treasure, which includes precious religious art collected along the centuries.
Once the visit is confirmed, you can not cancel or modify.