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.
You can take a famous glass-making factory tour, 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
Glassblowing tour: 30 minutes
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.
Art of Glassblowing Tour: Departs at 12:00pm (Noon) from Clock Tower Near "Yex" Exchange Office (The White Building With The Blue Clock Facade). St. Mark’s Square Glass Factory Detail: VETRERIA GALLERIA SAN MARCO – Calle del Cappello Nero, San Marco 181/A – 30124 Venezia.Ending Point
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.
At the end of your activity you will have the opportunity to do the optional tour the Glass Craftsman Demonstration visiting a Glass Factory which is very close to Saint Mark’s square (20 minutes tour).
Free Murano Art of Glassblowing Tour: This tour departs daily at 12pm (noon) from the designated meeting point and will introduce you to the secrets of the Murano Art of glassblowing renowned since years all over the world. The tour includes a visit to a Glass Factory Showroom located near Saint Mark's Square, where you will be told about the origins of the Art of glassblowing, which dates back to the Roman Empire.Following this introduction you will attend to a demonstration by a Master Artisan that using the traditional old style techniques of Glass blowing will create for you a unique glass item.
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.
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)
Art of Glassblowing Tour is offered in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese (the visit could be multilingual).
Excellent tour. Guide very knowledgeable and easy to listen to. Admission into museum included in ticket is also a great experience....David Wigham, United Kingdom, 05/Nov/2017
...Helen Stewart, United Kingdom, 05/Dec/2017