4 star rating: Recommended 886 Reviews

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  • Location: Venice, Italy
  • Duration:  2 hours (approx.)
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.

Highlights

  • 2-hour walking tour of St Mark’s Square and lesser-known Venice, with skip-the-line entrance to St Mark’s Basilica
  • Enjoy fast-track entry to St Mark's Basilica to see its glittering mosaics and interior
  • Walk around St Mark’s Square and admire its stunning buildings and monuments
  • Explore the ‘hidden’ Venice of small canals, palaces and bridges often missed by visitors
  • See the Il Milione courtyards, named after Venetian explorer, Marco Polo, and the plaque marking the Polo family house
  • Learn about Venice’s rich history and its role as a major maritime power in the Middle Ages

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Skip the Line: Venice Walking Tour with St Mark's Basilica

Discover the history of St Mark's Square on this fascinating walking tour

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.

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Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Although it was incredibly hot the tour guide did a terrific job of covering off the highlights. She was very knowledgeable. We all learned some fascinating facts about Venice, the city she clearly loved. I would highly recommend this tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

A brilliant tour with a funny and extremely knowledgable tour guide who was borne and raised in Venice.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Great tour. Our tour guide was Andrea. He was very thorough and gave us lots of interesting information about the sites we've seen on the tour and Venice in general. One of the best tour guides we had during our 12 days Italy trip.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Absolutely loved this. Loved our guide. Loved how you make this work with the little earphone things Fantastic!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Tour guide Andrea was extremely friendly and helpful. He explained the history of Doge's palace, the basilica slowly, so that we understood it.

Weather was hot, so it's always good to have a nice cold drink in your hand.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

We had a great guide and saw a lot of the island and history in this short walking tour. We did it in the afternoon and it was pretty hot so I would recommend doing a morning tour to beat the heat of the day.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Lovely tour! Didn't know the tour wouldn't end at the starting point. We had to retrieve our luggage from our hotel and missed our train to Florence. We thought we had plenty of time for all but the longer walk to our hotel wasn't anticipated. Please let people know where it will end!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

The tour was excellent! I am a travel agent and I was very impressed with the guide,
the tour, and the professionalism. I will be recommending this to my clients!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

This was a great tour. Our guide was very entertaining. We loved it!!!!!!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

The tour guide was excellent, and the tour was exactly what was advertised. We really enjoyed it.

From USD $ 27.95

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Tour code: 2635WV

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