Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour
- Small group
- Duration options: 2 - 3 hours
Venice's most famous church is more a testament to the city's Medieval wealth and power than the teachings of Christ. Its history, however, might just be even more spectacular than its architecture! Here are five fun facts dug up from its colorful past.
The original church was built circa 832 to harbor the relics of Saint Mark, which were supposedly stolen from Alexandria by Venetian merchants!
The Doge (leader) of Venice, Pietro IV Candiano, was so unpopular by 976 that his constituents locked him in Saint Mark's and burned it to the ground!
Hardly a symbol of Christian humility, the cathedral's opulent mosaics gave rise to a nickname that has lasted since its 9th century construction – The Church of Gold!
The 4th Crusade didn't go quite as planned! Rather than reach Jerusalum, the Venetians instead pillaged Constantinople and stole many artifacts to adorn their cathedral.
But, unfortunately, only about a third is original! Though once maintained by a workshop of skilled mosaicists, much was simply replaced in cheap 19th-century restoration attempts.
The Basilica's opening hours are from 9:45AM to 5:00PM, and on Sundays and holidays between 2:00PM and 4:00PM or 5:00PM depending on the season. Entrance to the Basilica is free, but visiting the museum, treasury, or Pala d'Oro requires paying for tickets.
Whether you're booking a tour or intend to visit Saint Mark's Basilica alone, be sure to dress appropriately for a place of worship! A general rule of thumb is to keep arms and legs covered (and no flip-flops!). Also note that bringing luggage in is forbidden, as is filming or taking photographs inside.
Want to discover all there is to do in Saint Mark's Basilica? Click here for a full list.
This is an excellent tour to have an overall introduction to Murano, Burano, and Torcello, without diving too deep into the details of each island. Perfect if you have never visited them and want to get an idea, less suitable if you want to gain in-depth knowledge about them. We were a small group, so the company booked a taxi, which was an absolute treat. Great first time to the Lagoon Islands, our favourite was Burano (we got covid masks with handmade lace! So stylish). Live demonstrations of glass blowing and lace making are included. The guide was approachable and knowledgeable, keeping us on time without making us feel rushed.
Stefano is a terrific guide! He explained the history and architecture relating to St. Mark’s Bacilica and Doge’s Palace in an easy to understand manner and with a strong knowledge foundation. His background as an architect added another positive dimension. The 3 hour tour went quickly. We highly recommend taking it.
This tour is a definite recommendation, a must-do for everyone interested in Venice's history. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, with an in-depth response for everyone extra question we had and brought across the information in a way that was engaging and fun to listen to.
The guide was friendly, well informed and organized. This tour is amazing for people who want to be advised in historical facts about the buildings and life of the people of Venice.
Great experience. Very knowledgeable and engaging Guide. We were a small group of 6 so felt very personal. Seamless and quick entry to all sites. Would highly recommend.