Venice the Power of the Past
In the past Venice was an independent city state which featured a unique republican government system that lasted for some nine hundred years, and the centre of all this was San Marco square. La Piazza, as the locals call it, encompasses the ruling buildings of the political, religious and civic power of the Most Serene Republic, the two most notably being the highlights of this tour: the Ducal Palace (with the Prisons and the Bridge of Sighs,) and the basilica of San Marco itself.
We'll start this tour visiting the Ducal Palace, the combined seat of the Duke or Chief of State, the ruling government offices and justice courts of appeal at the time when Venice was an independent republic. As we move along the Duke's abode and the State Rooms (including the Collegio or ruling board, the Senate, the criminal court and the huge room of the Great Council), you’ll learn the crucial facts of Venice’s history and state organization. Last but not least the Palace also houses world class paintings by the greatest Venetian painters of the 16th century, making it a great showcase of art. After completing the tour of the palace we move on along a narrow corridor better known as the Bridge of Sighs converted by British travellers into a famous tourist icon in the 19th century that still endures. At the other end the former State Prisons awaits us, but just for a brief visit!
We exit the palace now and start a short stroll into the square to view and talk about the striking buildings located all around: the National Library, the Bell Tower, the Procuratie, and the elegant and charming Clock Tower on top of which two hammering statues toll a bell and still draw people’s attention every hour. The Piazza, besides hosting the governmental buildings of the past, was a also an open stage where Venetians for centuries paraded in beautiful costumes to celebrate special occasions, providing thus the greatest example of civic pride in Europe.
But it’s time now to enter an extraordinary building, the real basilica of San Marco. Built in the 9th century for the first time as the burial chapel of the evangelist Mark after his relics were taken from Egypt, the present church was the result of a radical rebuilding and decoration between the 11th and 13th centuries. Once inside, the visitor’s attention will be captured by the precious decoration made of gold and coloured shining mosaics in the ceiling, the great variety of marbles along the walls, and last but not least by the jigsaw and geometric patterns of the marble mosaic floor. Declared in the past as the national church to upkeep the worship of Mark, their patron saint, Venetians spent with no restraint to produce this striking building which is also a great example of Byzantine art and architecture.
All about this tour
When and how
This tour runs on Wednesday and Saturday from 2.30 to 5:00pm and from May to October.
This tour will run with a maximum of 8 pople.
This tour will run rain or shine.
Pricing of this tour
Price is 62,50 € per person and includes the service of a professional licensed guide for 2h30 and priority admission in San Marco church to avoid long lines.
Cancellation Policy - between 7 and 4 days before the tour, 50% refund / from 3 days to the date of the tour and no shows, no refunds
Admission fees in the Ducal Palace
Full price 17,00 € per person. You can either pre-buy admissions on line at www.veneziaunica.it/en/ or ask your guide to buy them for you on the spot. Please always tell the guide whether you already have admissions with you or not.
NOTICE: Until the middle of next July the Apartment of the Duke cannot be visited as this section of the palace is used for a temporary exhibit on the French painter Henry Rousseau. The guide will spend longer time in other sections of the palace.
If you are just one person wishing to join this tour, please send us first an email email@example.com
Lines and Floods
In san Marco church all licensed guides have a priority admission card and a reserved entrance to avoid long lines. Although in case of extreme high tides flooding the square there will be one entrance only and all visitors will have to queue up.
Dress code, backpacks, rucksacks and bulky bags
Inside san Marco church: no shorts, no sleeveless, no bare shoulders. Bermuda pants, knee long skirts, T or Polo shirts, a scarf to cover shoulders are ok. Backpacks, rucksacks and bulky bags are not allowed inside both the san Marco church and the Ducal Palace. Even if you can drop those in deposit, this is time consuming.
About san Marco church
San Marco is the city's cathedral and it may be closed without prior notice in case of unscheduled religious services. This may happen a few times a year.
In san Marco squarey the exit of the Ducal Palace called in Italian 'Porta della Carta'. When looking to san Marco church it is located on the right side of the main façade. It is a very ornate gate showing the statues of the Duke kneeling by the Winged Lion. Copy and paste this Google maps link for reference and see the picture below
THE GUIDE WILL HAVE A SIGN SAYING: THE POWER OF THE PAST
Fernando Viotto cell. +393899618900
When & Where
SESTIERE SAN MARCO, N.1
EXIT OF DOGES'PALACE
A Guide in Venice
www.aguideinvenice.com is a website run by local Venetian licensed guides with many years of experience.
Our tours are oriented to travelers wishing to get a deeper insight of Venice's history and art and its daily life.
With maximum 8 people be sure you'll get most of your tour.