Highlights / General details
Get privileged access and explore the Doge's Palace, the armory, and the prisons in the late afternoon when it is the least crowded. After a short break, continue to St. Mark's Basilica where a basilica guard will unlock the doors for Walks of Italy small groups (maximum 15 participants). Experience one of the world’s most magnificent churches and see it like almost no one else... alone! Enjoy the illuminated mosaics at night—without the lines or crowds, a magical moment that you will never forget! You can’t go to Venice without visiting St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, the city’s two top sites. So why not make the experience as enjoyable, educational, and easy as possible? Give us a few hours of your time, and we promise you’ll feel like you didn’t just “do” these sites—you experienced them in the most rewarding, fascinating way possible. You will not only enjoy privileged access to the Doge’s Palace, minimizing your time in line, but you will get private access to St. Mark's Basilica after hours.
Start with a guided tour of the Doge's Palace. What the Vatican is to Rome, the Doge's Palace is to Venice: for seven hundred years, the remarkable palace has been the home of not only the Doge, but of Venice’s (independent!) government, courts, and even prisons. Visit the center of Venice’s power and history at Palazzo Ducale, including the sumptuous Doge’s apartments and the Hall of the Great Council, with its stunning frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Discover the secret stories behind the artworks, like why one doge in the painted series is covered by a black veil. Learn the history of Venice’s famed Dukes - how they were chosen, what they did and why you may not have wanted the position for yourself. On this guided tour you’ll have the opportunity to explore the massive armory, and the spooky prisons. Finish with a visit inside the Bridge of Sighs, where your guide will tell you why it’s not quite as romantic as you thought.
After a short break you will continue to St. Mark's Basilica (already closed to the public for the day) where a custodian unlocks the Basilica’s doors for you, walking you inside Venice’s most important site - EMPTY! Inside, take a deep breath. You’re experiencing St. Mark’s Basilica as almost nobody else does, or ever has ever been able to aside from the Doge himself. You’ll experience the basilica as it should be experienced: in tranquility and peace. You will also get to see the Pala d’Oro, the spectacular, Byzantine altarpiece that uses more than 1,900 gems! During the day, there’s a line to see this, but now? You have it all to yourself. Since you’re alone in the basilica, you can even go where others visiting during the day, can’t. Like the crypt, which the custodian unlocks for you: This is where the bones of St. Mark are said to actually be kept. Plus, you can see the stained walls here from the past floods that have devastated Venice—the crypt used to be flooded every time the high tide hit the city! Aside from the emptiness of the basilica, nighttime is the best time to visit because that’s when the mosaics are at their most beautiful. All 43,000 square feet are lit up, glimmering and sparkling in the dark! If just seeing the basilica this way weren’t entrancing enough, there’s also your guide, an expert who’s passionate about Venetian art and history—and about sharing it with you in the most fun way possible. You’ll hear the swashbuckling tale of how St. Mark’s became St. Mark’s… a story that pivots on a kidnapping and a dangerous sea voyage! You’ll learn where the precious marbles decorating St. Mark’s really come from…It’s just a few hours, see two top sites and get memories that will last a lifetime!
Exclusive access to St. Mark’s tickets; Doge's Palace tickets; Expert, English-speaking Walks of Italy tour guide.
Hotel pick-up and drop-off; Gratuities.
Hours of operation
Available on select Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 5:00pm, and select Sundays at 5:15pm.
Approximately 3.5 hours.
Meeting Point: Just outside the entrance of the Correr Museum on Piazza San Marco, 30124, Venice. On St. Mark's square at the opposite side of the Basilica you will find the Correr Museum entrance underneath the portico.
Please remember that the basilica is a holy place and attire must be appropriate: Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. I Need Tours cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to improper dress.
Small Group Tour with a minimum of 2 participants, maximum 15 participants.
Children 0-2 years of age participate free.
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate guests with mobility impairments, wheelchairs or strollers on this tour. The prisons and the armory of the Doge's Palace are not wheelchair-accessible.
Clients must reach the meeting point 15 minutes before the departure time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no shows after tour commencement or departure.
Occasionally St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace are closed to the public, without previous notice, due to high tides or particular festivities.
Backpacks are prohibited inside of St. Mark's Basilica.
Complete information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, will be included on your Confirmation Voucher.