Explore two Venetian wonders, St Mark's Basilica & the Doge's Palace, after the crowds go home with nothing but a small group, an expert guide, and your imagination. With unparalleled after-hours access to these two architectural masterpieces, discover the gold mosaics of St Marks, see the frescoes of Veronese and Tintoretto, shiver in the Doge's prisons, and admire the Palace Armory.
On certain days there may be a short break between the visit to the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica (never more than one hour). This may extend the overall length of the tour.
St. Mark's Basilica is one of the most impressive churches in the world, and on this VIP tour, you'll have it almost entirely to yourself. In the late evening, caretakers switch on the lights to illuminate 43,000 sq ft of gold mosaics. Stand beneath the glittering ceilings and admire these incredible works, the oldest of which dates back to the 11th century. Then explore quiet areas of the church usually unseen by the public.
Your evening starts at the Doge's Palace as it closes for the day. This was once the heart of a maritime empire that stretched all the way to Turkey. As your expert guide tells you the story of Venice's epic rise and fall as a European trading power, you'll explore rooms like the Armory and the Hall of the Great Council. Venice is the world's oldest republic, and this enormous hall is where the city’s general assembly made important decisions, beneath beautiful paintings by their master painters, Veronese and Tintoretto.
You'll also peek into the 18th century prisons, where the darker work of Venetian governing was carried out. Learn the true story behind the 'romantic' Bridge of Sighs as you cross its length, peeking out at the crowds below.
Visiting after-hours, your Doge's Palace tour happens almost alone, when all others have left and the doors are closed. This allows you the time and space to really appreciate this incredible building. There's also the luxury of hearing your guide as clear as a bell.
After a quick break (no more than one hour), you'll head over to St. Mark's Basilica, which will already have closed for the evening. As your small group approaches, a guard will appear and open the door. Access at this time is only open to Walks groups, so you'll find the normally-busy church almost deserted. Step inside to experience St Mark's Basilica in all its shimmering glory, enormous ceiling mosaics lighting up the interior with their golden glow.
As you explore the church, including the crypt, you'll stop at beautiful artifacts like the main altar and the famous Byzantine altarpiece, the *Pala d'Oro*. These parts of the church either require additional tickets or are so crowded during opening hours that most visitors avoid them entirely. But not tonight, and not your group.
As you explore, your guide will tell you why this incredible building, with its riches and relics plundered from around the world, is the perfect representation of what Venice was at that time: a meeting point of the world, funded largely by piracy.
No one since the last Doge of Venice has been able to enter St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace with so few people inside, making this a truly unique experience. With an expert guide and only small Walks groups of maximum 25 people each inside, this is the perfect way to visit one of the most unique churches in the world.
- St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)
St. Mark's Basilica
St. Mark's Crypt
Pala d’Oro Altarpiece
Bell Tower in St. Mark's Square (exterior)
Clock Tower on St. Mark's Basilica (exterior)
Marciana Library (exterior)
Bridge of Sighs