Duration: 2.45 hours
Type of Service: Best of Venice with St. Mark's Basilica and Gondola Ride - small group tour
Your two-and-a-half-hour Best of Venice Tour with Gondola Ride shows off the grandeur and mystique of this once-powerful maritime republic from two entirely different perspectives. First, we’ll seek out the Floating City’s most sought after sights on foot, enjoying skip-the-line entry to spectacular St. Mark’s Basilica, as well as special access to the Basilica’s terrace. We’ll also explore some lesser-known corners of the city where the essence of Venetian living is writ large, before hitting the canals for that most quintessential of Venetian experiences, an unforgettable gondola ride to explore the city’s beauty from the water.
Meet your local expert guide in the city center for the first portion of the tour exploring the city on foot. As you weave your way through the twisting back streets, cobbled courtyards and small arched bridges, your expert guide will regale you with tales from Venice’s colorful past. You’ll discover why the city was built on a lagoon, how it came to be an important center of trade and what events conspired to end its domination over much of the Mediterranean. You’ll walk by Marco Polo’s house and hear about how the Venetian merchant set off to sea one day and returned with tales of faraway eastern lands that in those days few had ever seen. You’ll stroll across the church and palace-lined piazzas of Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo and Campo Santa Maria Formosa, where Byzantine, Renaissance, and modern elements fuse together their timeless portraits of the city, and also glimpse the fabled Bridge of Sighs, said to be named after the sighing prisoners as they were escorted across the canal to the cells of the adjacent prison.
After marveling at the elegance of St. Mark’s Square, which Napoleon fondly described as the “finest drawing room in all of Europe”, we’ll breeze past the entry lines and head straight into St. Mark’s Basilica. Together with your guide, you’ll uncover the diverse treasures inside the basilica, including the dazzling gold-laden mosaics that adorn its domed interior and ceilings. Having saved ourselves precious time with our privileged skip-the-line access, we’ll also manage to squeeze in a climb up to the famous terraces of St. Mark’s. Rarely included on guided tours, these terraces offer beautiful views over the piazza and the rooftops beyond.
Next, we will accompany you to the Gondola Station, where you’ll begin our 30-minute gondola tour of the waterways with a real local gondolier. You’ll start on Venice’s main thoroughfare, the much-traveled Grand Canal, where we’ll see such sights as Santa Maria della Salute Church, a 17th-century Baroque building constructed by lucky plague survivors to thank God for sparing their lives. Next, you will veer off down the quieter minor canals where we’ll float lazily by more iconic city sights and under its famous bridges. You will catch views of the dazzling Fenice Opera House and Theatre, the former home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Venice, the magnificent Church of San Moisè and the gothic style Bauer Palace. With group sizes limited to only 24 people or less and headsets provided, participants will find it easy to not only hear but also interact with their guide. Join us for this fascinating two-way tour, which shows you the best of the Floating City by both land and water.
Things to know:
- Journey into the Floating City’s history and culture seeing its most famous and lesser known sights on foot and from a gondola on this unique package that includes the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark’s Square.
- Get skip-the-line access to St. Mark’s Basilica, where you’ll see the shining gold mosaics of its interior, as well as climb up to the terraces for an unforgettable view over one of the most evocative cities on Earth.
- Indulge your senses for a quintessential Venice experience - a 30-minute gondola ride with a local gondolier from the Grand Canal to the hidden waterways behind sights like the La Fenice Theatre, San Moisè Church and other city secrets.
- Small group tour less than 24 people
- 30-minute shared gondola ride with 6 people or less, no commentary on gondola ride
- Tour offered on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
- Tour times are at 9:00 am and 1:30pm (1300)
- Check in with guide 15 minutes before tour begins
- Meeting point location - Campo S. Bortolomio(more details are given upon booking)