This introduction to Venice begins with a walk around St. Mark’s Square, also known as the "marble salon" for its many cafés and meeting places, where you can admire the outside of St. Mark’s Basilica, with its Byzantine mosaic renditions of scenes from the life of Christ and, in the lunettes of the lateral portals, scenes showing the history of the relics of Saint Mark. Within the Basilica, which is unique in the world for its 4,000 square meters of golden mosaics and marble floor inlays, your guide will introduce you to its many art treasures, including the magnificent high altar, or Pala d’Oro, covered with thousands of precious gems and stones. The cathedral terrace offers a panoramic view of the square, the lagoon, and the notorious horse statues, looted from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. The opulent Doge’s Palace, adjacent to the cathedral, was the seat from which the Duke wielded power over the great economic empire that was the Republic of Venice. The Palace's Hall of the Great Council is decorated with frescoes by Tintoretto and Veronese, and its Armory contains a comprehensive collection of weapons used by the palace guards. The prison where enemies of the state, including Giacomo Casanova, were held (and in his case escaped) is connected to the interrogation rooms in the Palace by the Bridge of Sighs, an enclosed bridge with small windows that allowed prisoners one final lachrymal look at the lagoon of Venice before their confinement. A 30-minute gondola ride can be added to your tour upon request. Parties larger than 6 will require a second gondola.
- This is a private tour, for your group only
- Expert, licensed English-speaking guide
- St. Mark’s Square and Basilica
- Terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica
- Doge’s Palace (general access rooms)
- Bridge of Sighs
- Skip-the-line access tickets at St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace
- Modest attire is required in churches and basilicas; knees and shoulders must be covered.
- Large bags and umbrellas are not allowed in the museum; retrieving checked items could affect your ability to cover the entire suggested itinerary.
- Please wear comfortable shoes as this tour requires a fair amount of walking.
- Is there a dress code I should know about?
- There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered; shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is recommended that you not take large bags or backpacks on tours that include churches as storage accommodations are not usually available.
- What if there is bad weather?
- Our tours operate rain or shine!
- Is tipping customary in Italy?
- Tipping is not as customary in Italy as in the United States and is not always expected. However, it is always a kind gesture and proper etiquette to leave "a little something extra," depending on the level of service you receive.
- What happens after I've requested a booking through your website?
- Your Own Italy will send a confirmation email within 24 hours of your booking. You will then be invited to make your payment using a link that will be provided.
- Can wheelchair users go on this walking tour?
- Not all walking tours are fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities. However, if anyone in your group requires special accommodation, please let us know when completing the booking and we will work out suitable alternative routes.
- Can tours be modified?
- If you would prefer to customize your tour to eliminate some sites, please feel free to contact us to discuss options.
- How far in advance should I book my walking tour?
- Tours should be booked 48 hours in advance. While we cannot guarantee availability if booking occurs in less than 48 hours, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
- What are Your Own Italy’s payment terms?
- Full payment is due when the tour confirmation email is sent, within 24 hours of your booking. You will be provided with a link to our payment page. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Tours must be canceled by email 24 hours prior to the start of the tour. If cancellation is made in less than this time, Your Own Italy cannot guarantee a full refund.
- How do I amend a reservation?
- Any changes to existing reservations must be requested by email. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes, but they cannot be guaranteed.
- Is your site secure?
- Our internet site uses the SSL encryption protocol to guarantee secure transactions and complete confidentiality. We use a security certificate issued by the Security Management Company, Control Scan.
- What should I do if I have a larger group than the size suggested on the website?
- Your Own Italy is delighted to accommodate large groups. Please specify the number in your party when booking, and every effort will be made to organize a tour within the time limits provided.