Led by an expert guide, explore the splendid Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), which for centuries represented the hub of Venetian political power. See the magnificent council chambers embellished with stunning artworks and climb the sumptuous ‘Golden Staircase’.
Relive the anguish of condemned prisoners crossing the Bridge of Sighs and learn about the exploits of Casanova, once a ‘guest’ in the Doge’s grim prisons.
Marvel at the golden ceiling mosaics and marble inlays in the Basilica San Marco (St Marks Basilica), and gasp when you see the gem-encrusted altar screen and the glittering contents of the Treasury. Your trip includes Skip the Line access to the Palazzo and Basilica, so you won’t have to wait in a queue.
When your tour of the historic buildings is over, after an hour break, you can take a free 2-hour excursion by boat to the famous glass-making island of Murano, where you will be given a glassblowing demonstration.
01 Apr - 31 Oct:
English/ French/ German/ Spanish Tour: Daily except Sunday
01 Nov - 31 Mar:
English Tour: Daily except Sunday
French Tour: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
German Tour: Monday & Friday
Spanish Tour: Wednesday & Saturday
Approx. 2 hours, plus 2 hours extra for Murano Tour (if option chosen)Start time
Free of charge optional trip by private boat to Murano Island (generally scheduled from 2pm to 4pm) and it is not a part of the tour.
Clock Tower Near "Yex" Exchange Office (The White Building With The Blue Clock Facade) Saint Mark's Square.
Please report at the meeting point 15 minutes before the start time. This is mandatory to allow time for pre-departure briefing.
The tour ends at St. Mark’s Area
The tour starts at the exchange office ‘YEX’ at the Clock Tower in St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). You will be led by an expert guide and the languages spoken on the tour will vary according to the day of the week.
You will visit the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale), once the residence of the Doge, the Chief Magistrate and leader of the Venetian Republic. Your tour includes a ‘Skip the Line’ ticket to the Palace which means you don’t have to waste time queuing. It also includes an audio receiver which amplifies the commentary by your guide so that you can hear everything clearly.
Built in Gothic style, the Palace dates from the 14th century. You will see the magnificent Grand Council Chamber (or Sala del Maggior Consiglio) where up to 2000 members of the aristocracy could meet at one time. Designed to impress, this monumental hall is covered in sumptuous decoration and contains the world’s largest oil painting, ‘Paradise’ by the renowned master Tintoretto and his son Domenico.
Climb the beautiful Golden Staircase (Scala d'Oro), with its gleaming golden stucco, to view the rooms once used by the Doge. Today, these are unfurnished thanks to looting by Napoleon's army, but you can still see the glorious ceilings and imposing stone fireplaces.
Enter the Hall of the Council of the Ten, former meeting place of the most feared Tribunal of the Venetian Republic. Those found guilty by this court would be thrown into the grim Palace Prisons. View these prisons and hear the story of one of the most famous inmates, the adventurer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova, who made a brilliant escape from the upper floor.
And of course you will see the renowned Bridge of Sighs, which connects the Old Prisons in the Doge’s Palace with the New Prisons beyond the Palazzo River.
Your tour also includes ‘Skip the Line’ entry to the majestic Basilica San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica), the greatest of Venice’s monuments. Built in the 9th century, this huge Basilica (or Cathedral) is one of the world’s best examples of Byzantine architecture.
Marvel at the stunning golden ceiling mosaics telling the story of the Gospels over an expanse of 8,000 square meters. View the incredible San Marco Treasury – a vast assemblage of gold, silver, glass and other precious materials. Many of these were brought back from conquests in the Holy Land when Venice was at the height of its power.
But save your greatest admiration for the Basilica’s most precious possession – the eye-popping Pala d'Oro, an exquisite altar screen made from hundreds of pieces of enamel stuck onto gold leaf and enriched with all kinds of gems: sapphires, garnets, pearls, emeralds, amethysts, rubies, agate and topaz.
You can also visit, without a guide, the palaces around St. Mark’s Square (Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana)
Your tour of the Doge’s Palace and Basilica will take around 2 hours and end at around 12.45pm.
At 2.00pm, there is a free optional return trip by private boat to Murano Island, which you can opt for after the tour. Here you will visit a factory to see Murano’s famous glass being made.
The excursion to Murano takes around 2 hours. At the end, you will be dropped close to St Mark’s Square around 4:00pm.
Please arrive at the meeting point 15 minutes before departure time.
Some days, due to church services or exceptional high tides, access to the Basilica and Doges Palace may not be possible. The tour can be held the next day or reimbursed
The tour guide may be speaking 2 or 3 languages depending on the needs of the group.
Optional trip by private boat to Murano Island starts at 2:00pm.
Voucher information: No need to print! If you are travelling with a smartphone or tablet you can present your voucher on your device for this activity.
Knees and shoulders must be covered to access St Marks Basilica.
We do not recommended this tour for wheelchair users or people with walking disabilities.
Tour on Saturday could be bilingual (English/ French/ German/ Spanish or Italian)
...Rupal Mistry, , 12/Jul/2017
The tour guide, first of all, was such fun. Her aside comments, twinged with great humour, added to her knowledge base. She covered not only the basics but also had some fun...Ed Ferrell, United Kingdom, 20/Jul/2017