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.