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  1. Italy
  2. Veneto
  3. Venice
  4. Saint Mark's Basilica

Venice: Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica & Terraces Tour

Product ID: 280197
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Unlock the dark side of Doge’s Palace in the secret wing where they kept Casanova. Then, explore St. Mark’s Basilica by skipping the lines inside and taking the views from the terraces overlooking St Mark’s Square.
About this activity
Duration 2.5 hours
Skip the ticket line
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:



  • Explore the unlocked hidden wing of Doge’s Palace where Venetians were tortured by the secret police
  • Admire the ceiling frescoes and artistic creations by Veronese and Tintoretto
  • Enjoy free access to the haunting 16th-century New Prisons by crossing the Bridge of Sighs
  • Make the most of your time in St. Mark's Basilica by skipping the lines to explore more of the treasures and take the city views from the terraces
Full description
Venice is enigmatic, mysterious, and full of stories. The Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, two of its iconic attractions, are good examples of this. On this combined tour, you’ll skip the lines and discover the rarely-discussed parts of this city's history, even by locals.

The Venetian dukes lived in Doge’s Palace before it became an art museum. At the height of Venice's power, this was the seat of decision-making power. Above the art museum in a closed-off wing is the secret prison where that power became corrupt. Your expert English-speaking guide will take you through hidden cells, torture rooms, and inquisition chambers. This was where many Venetian citizens, including Casanova, found themselves. You’ll see the archive room, where you’ll discover the surveillance methods used by the Venetian Republic. Of course, you’ll  see many pieces of priceless artwork as well. But if prisons interest you, there is also the chance to walk over the lonesome Bridge of Sighs to wander inside the grim 16th-century New Prisons in your own time.

The onion-domed St. Mark’s Basilica is your next destination. A masterpiece on its own, the story behind it is typical of Venice. This is a tale of quick-witted Venetian traders who gathered relics of the saints and stolen statues to legitimize their unique basilica. Your guide will show you how the unusual layout, the elaborate architecture, and the Venetian mosaic style combined to create a display of power which positioned the city as a force to be reckoned with. You’ll finish your extended tour with access to the famous terraces. From here you’ll be able to see a different view back inside the Basilica and out over the city of Venice.
  • English-speaking expert tour guide
  • Small groups of 25 people or less
  • Skip-the-line access and entrance ticket to the Doge’s Palace
  • Headsets when appropriate, so you can always hear your guide
  • Skip-the-line access to St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Entrance ticket to the terraces of St. Mark’s Basilica
What’s Not Included
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Gratuities
  • Food or beverages
Not suitable for
  • Wheelchair users

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

At the foot of Ponte della Paglia, the bridge with the view of the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), just outside in front of the Doge's Palace, facing the lagoon.

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Important information
What to bring
  • Comfortable shoes
Not allowed
  • Shorts
  • Luggage or large bags
  • Sleeveless shirts
Know before you go
• Please note that the morning tour of Doge’s Secret Itineraries starts at 9:00 AM and lasts 1.25 hours and ends at the Doge’s Palace, where you can continue visiting the palace at your own pace. There is a break between the two tours. The afternoon tour of St. Mark's Basilica starts at 2:00 PM, lasts 1 hour and ends at St. Mark’s Basilica.
• Please note that children under the age of 6 years are not permitted on this tour.
• This tour involves a fair amount of walking and steep staircases.
• Entrance into religious sites requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women.
Organized by

City Wonders Ltd.

Product ID: 280197