If you only have a limited time in Venice, you have to make choices. Make those choices good ones. For example, take a tour of Venice's premiere sights with an experienced, English-speaking guide. Through captivating stories, St. Mark's Basilica, the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) and the Bridge of Sighs will come to life. And you'll be glad you made smart choices.
The tour starts at the very center of Venice: St. Mark's Square. This used to be the political and social center of the Venetian Republic. Today it's the place where millions of tourists dock every year, but it's no less beautiful for the foot traffic.
After coming to understand why Napoleon called this "the drawing room of Europe", you'll continue to St. Mark's Basilica, one of the world's most famous churches. It's survived fires, looting and storms - and not always unscathed. That's why you'll find many different architecture styles and irregularities. Giving it its unique appearance.
With your guide at the front, you'll skip the long lines at the entrance to the basilica (saving you a few hours in the burning sun or pouring rain - Venice's most common weather types). Once inside you'll be struck by the opulence; 4000 m2 of mosaics glitters and shimmers in the daylight. And visit the spectacular Pala d'Oro - commissioned by the Doge in 976.
This golden 'painting' is one of the richest treasures of Christianity, stuffed with 2486 gems. Much of the other treasures were 'requisitioned' by Napoleon, but your guide will fill you in on all of that!
After the church you'll visit the famous Palazzo Ducale, formerly the HQ and home of the Venetian Doge.
The tour soaks up all the highlights of this power palace, including the gilded and marble staircases. Probably the highlight is the Great Council Hall. The entire east wall is Tintoretto's enormous painting The Paradise. It's one of the world's biggest (and most beautiful) paintings. You'll also get to cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs where the weary breaths of prisoners heading to the Doge's Prison would carry out into the city.
All of this Venetian history and beauty will no doubt put you in the mood for a snack. So keep with the 'true blue Venetian' mood and grab some delicious cinchetti (Venetian tapas) and then carry on exploring The Bride of the Sea on your own.
Vaporetto: 1 or 2 to Valleresso.
Pump the history of St. Mark's Basilica straight into your ears
Tickets for St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace: Skip The Line + Guided Tour