Tour description provided by Viator
Skip the line at St Mark’s Basilica and explore St Mark’s Square and lesser-known Venice on this 2-hour walking tour. Stroll around St Mark’s Square as your guide explains its buildings and Venice’s history as a major maritime power during medieval times. Bypass the queues at St Mark’s Basilica to ogle its incredible interior, and delve into the quieter, less-visited side of Venice. Walk along small canals past palaces, squares and bridges; see where explorer Marco Polo once lived, and learn about daily life in the city past and present.
Choose from various departure times when you book. Then, when the time comes, start your skip-the-line walking tour near St Mark’s Square where your knowledgeable guide will introduce you to the history of Venice and its famous square — the city’s social, religious and political hub for centuries.
As you walk around, learn why the first Venetians settled on what were unpropitious marshy islands, and how, through its mercantile wealth, ‘La Serenissima’ as it was known grew to become one of the world’s mightiest maritime powers. Ogle the ornate architecture as your guide explains the buildings before you, and then admire the marbled exterior of St Mark’s Basilica.
Skip the lines at the entrance, and marvel at the opulent interior. Behold the gleaming mosaics and statues and learn why the Basilica is considered a masterpiece of Italian-Byzantine architecture.
Next, set off into the quieter, lesser-known Venice of small canal walkways and campi (squares), unseen by many visitors. See the Querini and Stampalia art museum (exterior only) and discover hidden squares, bridges and loggia-fronted Gothic and Renaissance palaces. Learn how the floors of the palaces had specific uses and hear stories about daily life in the city during the days of the Venetian Republic.
Visit the squares of Santa Maria Formosa and Santa Marina, and look round the Il Milione courtyards named after Marco Polo’s ‘Il Milione’, the Venetian explorer’s personal accounts of his far eastern travels. Wander onto the Marco Polo Bridge and see the stone plaque that marks what was once his family house.
After around two hours, walk back to the Grand Canal where your tour ends near the Rialto Bridge.
Please note: On rare occasions, St Mark’s Basilica is closed without notice due to religious festivities or high water in Venice.