Cheap Tours and Activities in Venice
Venice, the capital of northern Italy's Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals - including the Grand Canal thoroughfare. Never was a thoroughfare so aptly named as the Grand Canal, reflecting the glories of Venetian architecture lining its banks. At the end of Venice's signature waterway, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark's Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city's red roofs. In the narrow backstreets you'll find neighborhood churches lined with Veroneses and priceless marbles, Tiepolo's glimpses of heaven on homeless-shelter ceilings, and a single Titian painting that mysteriously lights up an entire basilica. Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield specialty produce and seafood you won't find elsewhere - all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalizing traces of ancient spice routes. Venetians are used to setting trends, whether it be with controversial artwork in the Punta della Dogana, racy operas at La Fenice or radical new art at the Biennale. In a world of cookie-cutter culture, Venice's originality still stands out. With so much to see, do, and taste, Venice is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting activities and tours in or near the area to help you make the most of your time here.
See all the main sights of Venice on an exclusive, semi-private tour, limited to just 10 people. An English-speaking guide will provide commentary tailored to your group, as you marvel at the city's Byzantine bridges, palaces, villas and churches. Start with an intimate cruise along the Grand Canal by water taxi, and snake your way past no less than 50 palaces, 6 churches, 4 bridges and 2 open-air markets. The ornate Rialto Bridge is a highlight of the cruise as its reflection shimmers in the water. Back on dry land, head straight to St. Mark's Basilica, which took 800 years to build and contains relics and monuments bought and stolen from all over Europe and Asia. Skip the long lines to go inside the cavernous space for an extended tour that includes mosaics dating back to the 11th century, and some beautiful artworks.
Ascend to the 2nd floor to steal some quiet time on the terraces, and enjoy incredible views over bustling Piazza San Marco below. Next, enjoy a walking tour past some of the best-known, and some hidden sights, of Venice. Your guide will take you to Marco Polo's house and tell you about the Venetian son who went to sea and came back with stories of China. Admire the architectural mix of styles at the Campo SS Giovanni Paolo, as well as the melancholic Bridge of Sighs. Your guide will keep you entertained with stories throughout, from informative tales about how the city has stayed afloat for so long, to the whispers of scandal that make Venice such a captivating city. End back at the Rialto Bridge.
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One of the architectural and cultural highlights of Venice, the Doge's Palace was the seat of the Venetian Republic and its rulers for centuries. Meet your local guide at Venice's Royal Gardens for a short walk to the palace in St Mark's Square. Admire the magnificent Gothic exterior before heading to the front of the long queue with your skip-the-line ticket. Wander through the palace's awe-inspiring public rooms, decorated from floor to ceiling with gilded decor and elaborate murals. Admire masterpieces of Renaissance painting, including works by Tintoretto and the striking Juno Bestowing her Gifts on Venice by Veronese. As you explore, listen to your guide's narration through provided headsets so all visitors can hear clearly. See the Trial Chambers of the Council of Ten and learn about the powerful and secretive practices the mighty doges used to rule the Venetian Republic for centuries. Walk across the famous Bridge of Sighs that connects the palace to the adjoining New Prison complex, where convicts and enemies of the republic were confined. Walk in the footsteps of the condemned as you explore the foreboding hallways and cells of the prison. Your 2-hour tour concludes back outside the palace in the welcoming, open air of St Mark's Square.
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Explore the liquid streets of Venice on this Grand Canal Boat Tour. Journey through the diverse areas of the city aboard a luxury boat that departs from St Mark's Square. You'll learn about the most important waterway in Venice as you make your way past St Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace and other landmarks. Your guide will point out palaces and city squares, like Campo Santa Maria Formosa, where gothic architecture and old-world charm reign supreme. You'll hear about the local trade schools that teach mercantile traditions that allow the city to flourish. After exploring the Grand Canal, head off to some of Venice's minor waterways, where you'll see parts of the city rarely visited by tourists. It's the best way to experience the beauty and charm of this old world city, complete with comfortable transport and a knowledgeable guide.
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Take a walking tour with a professional private guide to explore one of the most celebrated piazzas in the world. St. Mark's Square is surrounded on 3 sides by magnificent structures such as the 15th-century Clock Tower, the Procuratie Vecchie, Procuratie Nuove, and Ala Napoleonica. On the fourth side stands the outstanding St. Mark's Basilica, with its Clock Tower rising above the open area known as the Mercerie. Your guide will tell you about the history and architectural styles of the Clock Tower, the Bell Tower, the Correr Museum, and the Bridge of Sighs. St. Mark's Bell Tower is the highest structure in Venice. Originally built in the 9th century, it has been rebuilt several times since. It unexpectedly crashed to the ground in 1902, and was rebuilt following the original design, incorporating the ancient bells. The Bridge of Sighs connects the Palazzo delle Prigioni and Palazzo Ducale, or Doge's Palace. It is called the Bridge of Sighs because in times past, convicts were forced to enter prison through this bridge. According to the legend when they had their last glimpse of Venice they would let out a sigh. Tour the interior of the Doge's Palace, with a ticket to be purchased at the site. You'll visit the interior of St. Mark's Basilica to admire its many treasures, including the Pala d'Oro, the statues, amazing glass, and carvings.
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