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  1. Italy
  2. Veneto
  3. Venice
  4. Bridge of Sighs

Venice: Doge's Palace and Gondola Ride Tour

Product ID: 243547
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Explore the interior of the Doge’s Palace with skip-the-line access. See the Bridge of Sighs, the sights of St. Mark’s Square, and the Rialto Bridge. Enjoy an enchanting gondola ride along the Grand Canal and the inner canals of Venice.
About this activity
Duration 150 minutes
Skip the ticket line
Printed or mobile voucher accepted
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
English
Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts

Select participants and date:

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Experience

Highlights
  • Learn the history of the Doge's Palace at the heart of the Venetian Republic
  • Discover the city and its most picturesque nooks and crannies as you glide down small canals and the larger Grand Canal
  • Embark on a 2-hour tour with a professional experienced guide
Full description
Meet your guide at the winged lion column on Saint Mark's Square and head to the large, bright courtyard of the Palazzo Ducale or Doge's Palace. Admire the precious marble decorations in the courtyard before following your guide through a narrow door on the ground floor to reach the Pozzi (wells). Your guide will explain how these served as places of detention, consisting of small wet cells, barely lit by oil lamps, ventilated only through round holes in thick stone walls and closed in by locked doors with solid bolts. See the cells and the writing and drawings left behind on the cell walls that communicate the prisoners' despair and desire for freedom. 

Take a narrow staircase up to two small rooms that housed the Ducal Notary and the Deputato alla Segreta, important officers in the larger institutional machinery. Pass through the characteristic Square Atrium on your way to the impressive Chamber of the Secret Chancellery, the walls of which are lined with cabinets containing public and secret documents relating to the work of the Venetian magistrates.

Continue on to the Torture Chamber, a disturbing place linked directly with the prisons. Listen as your guide explains how torture was practiced in Venice and in which century it was abolished. From there, head to the Piombi. These cells were used exclusively for the prisoners of the Council of Ten, those accused of political crimes, those awaiting sentence, and those serving short prison terms. Understand firsthand why Piombi reflects much better conditions than those in the Pozzi, the terrible cells on the ground floor of the Doge’s Palace you visited earlier.

From the Piombi you pass directly under the roof to the attic located at the corner of the building between the waterfront and canal–side facades. Inside it has cabinets that contain a number of weapons, most from the 16th century. Follow two long flights of stairs leading from the attic to reach the Chamber of the Inquisitors, a much-feared magistrate that was set up in 1539 to protect state secrets.

After finishing your tour of the Doge’s Palace, the guide will escort you to a waiting gondola for a 30-minute punt along the canals of Venice. Be lulled by the gentle sway of the lagoon as you move deeper into the minor canals, and coast past lesser known areas to see quaint corners and majestic palaces from a new perspective. End your scenic ride and disembark at the docks of Grand Canal.
Includes
  • Official certified guide
  • Radio system to hear the guide
  • Skip-the-line access to the Doge's Palace
  • 30-minute gondola ride
What’s Not Included
  • Hotel pickup and drop off
  • Food and drinks
  • Transportation to/from attractions
  • Guided tour on gondola

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Please be present in front of the Colonne di San Marco e San Teodoro (Piazza San Marco), 15 minutes before departure time in order to avoid any delays

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Important information
What to bring
  • Passport or ID card
  • Comfortable shoes
Not allowed
  • Pets
  • Oversize luggage
  • Smoking
  • Luggage or large bags
Know before you go
• Due to recent safety concerns, there may be a short line to enter the Doge's Palace even for skip-the-line ticket holders
• The tour does not operate in case of exceptional high tide or in case of religious functions (in these cases it can be rearranged or refunded)
• Please wear comfortable shoes
• Please note wheelchairs, strollers, sacks, bags, or knapsacks are not allowed inside the Palace
• Please note that your seat is non-negotiable: the gondolier will determine what seat you will sit in according to each guest’s weight
• The itinerary may change in cases of wind or bad weather
• Please note that this is a shared tour, not a private gondola ride
• Your guide will give you your entrance ticket at the start of the tour
• Please note that if you arrive after the tour start time you will not be able to join and will not be refunded or have your tour rescheduled