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Legendary Venice: St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace Tour

1356 reviews

3 hours

Max 25

Why take this tour?

Skip long lines at the two top attractions in Venice and allow our local guide to immerse you in the story of the rise and fall of the Venetian Empire. As you explore the Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica, you'll hear the facts, legends and lore of how this city literally grew out of the sea to become one of the greatest powers in Medieval Europe.

Take Walks: Take the time to explore the history of Venice.

Step inside the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica to learn the history of Venice, one captivating tale after another. You'll meet your local guide in St. Mark's Square, one of the loveliest public squares in all of Europe, before using your pre-reserved tickets to skip long lines for a complete St Marks Basilica tour.

Inside, you'll encounter opulence at a level you can barely imagine. With 43,000 square feet of golden mosaics glowing above your head, you'll explore this vast church and hear the story of how it was founded through angelic prophecy and, um, grave robbing; as well as how it grew along with the foturnes of Venice, which weren't always the most scrupulous. With special ac...

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Step inside the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica to learn the history of Venice, one captivating tale after another. You'll meet your local guide in St. Mark's Square, one of the loveliest public squares in all of Europe, before using your pre-reserved tickets to skip long lines for a complete St Marks Basilica tour.

Inside, you'll encounter opulence at a level you can barely imagine. With 43,000 square feet of golden mosaics glowing above your head, you'll explore this vast church and hear the story of how it was founded through angelic prophecy and, um, grave robbing; as well as how it grew along with the foturnes of Venice, which weren't always the most scrupulous. With special access, you'll also get to see some of it's most coveted treasures, like the beautiful Pala d'Oro altarpiece, and the first level, where you'll find the famous bronze horses (they have a great story) and get closer to the mosaics. Finally, step out onto the balcony of the church for a beautiful view over St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace and the lagoon beyond.

Next up, your skip the line Doge's Palace tour. Walk through the palace doors and enter into the administrative and political heart of an empire that once encompassed much of the Mediterranean. You'll explore the general access rooms, as well as the incredible council chamber where the Doges held their most important meetings under frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. As you marvel at the architecture and decorations, your guide will tell you about all the backstabbing and skullduggery that went on behind the scenes here; and why one of the Doges has been covered with a veil in his official portrait.

You'll also walk through the palace armory, featuring all the weapons that Venice used to defend its trade routes; as well as the New Prisons, where inmates could be thrown for a litanny of offenses that were deemed threatening to life in the lagoon. On the way you'll stroll across the famous Bridge of Sighs, which, as your guide will tell you, isn't quite as romantic as you might have thought.

Led by a local tour guide, this tour is the most enjoyable (and affordable) way to get a taste for the history of Venice. And with Skip the Line access at both the busiest sites in the city, it's the best way to make the most of your time on the islands of Venice.

  • Sites Visited
  • St. Mark's Basilica
  • St. Mark’s Square
  • Doge’s Palace (general access rooms)
  • New Prisons
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Tour Includes
  • Skip the Line St. Mark’s Basilica tickets
  • Skip the Line Doge’s Palace tickets
  • Headsets
  • Expert local tour guide
  • Groups limited to 25 people or fewer
St. Mark's terrace is a great spot for photos
Believe it or not, the frescoes in St. Mark's Basilica are all made of gold
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Latest Reviews

Our tour guide was very engaging, knowledgeable, passionate, and interesting. Giuseppina was fantastic!

My guide Elena was FABULOUS. Kind, warm, informative, friendly, helpful and you can really feel her LOVE for the city. She was sharing it beautifully with us. This was my fourth walk with your company (Previous Rome - colosseum and Art of Vatican, Florence) and she was by far my favorite guide. An absolute delight.


FAQ

Is this tour accessible to people in wheelchairs?
Unfortunately the terrace of St. Mark's Basilica, the prisons, and the armory of the Doge's Palace are not wheelchair-accessible, meaning we can't accept wheelchair user on this tour. For those interested in wheelchair friendly tours in Venice, please contact our Customer Care team at info@walksofitaly.com.
Does St. Mark's Basilica have a dress code?
Yes. Because it is a holy place, St. Mark's Basilica insists that both men and women wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees. They can and will refuse entry to anyone who does not meet this standard and we can't do anything about it, so come prepared.
Do guests always see the sights on this tour in the same order?
No. Sometimes the tour runs in reverser order. However, we never take any sights out of the itinerary so you are always going to see St. Mark's Basilica, St. Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace (general access rooms), New Prisons, and Bridge of Sighs.
What can I bring into the Doge's Palace?
You are permitted to enter the Doge's Palace with handbags and small backpacks. But any large backpacks or luggage are not permitted inside. You have to check them in the cloakroom.
Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
No. Unfortunately, due to site restrictions we cannot accommodate wheelchairs on this tour. If you use a wheelchair and book this tour by accident, we are happy to offer you credit for a future tour that is wheelchair accessible anywhere in the world, or a full refund.
What can I bring with me on this tour?
St. Mark's Basilica has very tight rules about what you can and cannot bring inside. Anything bigger than a purse - including backpacks or luggage - is NOT allowed inside the Basilica. There is no coat check either, so do not bring any bags larger than a purse with you.
Does the Doge's Palace accommodate wheelchair users?
The Doge’s Palace is not wheelchair-friendly. Some parts are accessible, but the Secret Rooms, Prisons, and Armory and not. Our route, in particular, is not wheelchair-friendly so we do not recommend that wheelchair users take this tour.
Can I take a bag with me into St. Mark's Basilica?
You can only take small bags into St. Mark's. Anything bigger than a purse - backpacks or luggage - is prohibited. There is no coat check either, so do not bring any large bags with you.