beautiful view of the doges palace
Famous terrace in St. Mark Basilica with its marvellous horses in Venice
Horse Statue Mark's Terrace
corridor of the prison inside the Doge's palace
Guided tour inside the Doge's Palce
Special Access

Doge's Palace Secret Itineraries & St. Mark's Basilica with Terraces

(390 Reviews)
Tue, Fri & Sat

  • Join us as we first unravel the dark history, hidden art and secrets of Doge’s Palace, the home of the Dukes of Venice and infamous city courts. Here we unlock special rooms for you to see restricted areas, including Piombi prison where Casanova was imprisoned and escaped.
  • We then take you to the iconic St. Mark’s Basilica, to see the Byzantine golden mosaics and hear tales from within, following special access first-floor terraces for a stunning view of the lagoons and city.
  • Your small group of 25 people will be led by an expert English-speaking guide and have skip all the lines access to these two popular venues. Terrace entry fee is also included with the tour.

Tour Description

What's Included

  • Skip-the-Line Access and entrance ticket to the Doge’s Palace & St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Entrance ticket to Doge’s Palace secret access areas and the terraces of St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Expert, English-speaking guide
  • Small groups of 25 people & audio headsets, so you can always hear your guide
  • Gratuities

Sites Visited

  • Doge's Palace general access areas
  • Secret chambers and archives of the Doge's Palace exclusive to Secret Itineraries Tour
  • The New Prisons (visit without guide)
  • St. Mark's Basilica
  • Terraces of St. Mark's Basilica
  • St. Mark's Square

Your adventure begins at Ponte della Paglia where you’ll meet your expert guide for this journey into two of Venice’s most important buildings. Skipping the line into the Doge’s Palace you’ll discover Renaissance artworks and frescoes by the great Venetian masters, Tintoretto and Veronese. The longest canvas painting ever created in the world can be found here.

Although an art museum today, the Doge’s Palace was originally the seat of the secretive Venetian government. Behind the art, your guide will share a story of power, scandal and corruption as they take you through the vast corridors, council chambers and atmospheric waiting rooms of the Palace.

Secret Wings of the Doge's Palace

Along with the general access areas, you’ll also be taken to the grim prison cell in the attic where you will discover the true story of its famous escapee, Casanova. In the restricted wing is the archive room where the secrets of the Republic were stored. You’ll also see the infamous Chamber of the Inquisitors, torture chambers and secret wardrobes that doubled as doors to the council rooms.

This section of your tour concludes at the entrance to the lonesome Bridge of Sighs and the New Prisons which you can visit at your own pace or if you’d rather, search the locale for some lunch.

Skip the Lines into St. Mark's Basilica

After lunch, you’ll meet your guide in St. Mark’s Square before bypassing the lines again to enter the Basilica. The interior of St. Mark’s Basilica is even more exquisite than the elaborate facade. The walls and domes glitter with gold mosaics while the floor surface is covered with geometric marble. Your guide will share the secret messages in the basilica and the legend of the stolen relics of St. Mark before taking you up to the terraces.

Enjoy the views from the Terraces of St. Mark's Basilica

Although the terraces are not included in most tours, they deliver panoramic views over St. Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace and the lagoon. You’ll get close to the replica horses of St. Mark here. The originals, like the bones of St Mark, were stolen from Constantinople by crusaders. The horses were taken to Paris by Napoleon before they finally returned to Venice. They are now in the basilica museum for safe-keeping while the ones on the terraces enjoy all the attention.

Finally, make your way back out to St. Mark’s Square to spend some time admiring the building’s amazing setting, or head off to enjoy the rest of your Venetian vacation.

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Guide showing attraction

A City Wonders tour is the product of meticulous research, detailed planning, and a passion for providing customers with travel experiences they will cherish forever.

With City Wonders it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sights to life.

  • All of our guides are experts in their field
  • We only hire fluent English-speakers so nothing is ever lost in translation
  • We focus on the little details and anecdotes that make City Wonders so special