Private Venice Walking Tour

Venice - Doges Palace - side view
Venice- St Mark Square - detailVenice - St Mark Square  -  piazzaVenice - St Mark Basilica -  detailVenice - San Marco - squareVenice - Bridge of Sighs - viewVenice - Doges Palace  - view from the lagoon

From: $54.41

tour duration

2 Hours

start time

09:00 AM – 11:00 AM

02:00 PM

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

meeting point

St Mark’s Square or your hotel if located St Mark area, more details at booking

Tour
Itinerary
Tour
Inclusions
Tour
Information

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Your guide will meet you at your hotel for a two hour walking tour of Venice. The city’s harmonious blend of Eastern and Western artistic styles will be the spectacular frame for this tour dedicated to Venice’s glorious past. The slow pace will allow you to discover and enjoy the most important monuments of this once powerful maritime republic.

You will begin with the Doge’s Palace, a palace built with rose and pink marble to house the Doge and the government of the Republic of Venice. The interior is richly decorated with artworks from several famous Renaissance artists such as Veronese, Tintoretto and Titian. From the Doge’s Palace you will see the famous Bridge of Sighs, which links the palace to the prisons to more easily transfer prisoners. Due to its beauty, the bridge is now considered one of the most romantic sights in Venice.

Your tour will then take you to visit the Basilica di San Marco, often referred to as the Golden Cathedral because of the five Byzantine domes that crown it. The Basilica was originally built in 832, then rebuilt in 978 following a fire, however the one we admire today was actually consecrated in 1094. Boasting rich decorations inside and out, the cathedral also contains the mummy of Saint Mark, whose bones were stolen from Egypt by two Venetian merchants.

You will conclude your tour in the impressive Piazza San Marco, symbol of Venice and one of the most famous squares in the world. Bask in its grandeur and admire the buildings, made in different architectural styles, which surround it. From here, you are free to continue exploring Venice on your own.

TOUR INCLUSIONS

– Expert local guide at disposal

– Skip the line – reservation and entrance fees at Doge’s Palace

– Skip the line  – reservation at St Mark’s Basilica

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

– St Mark’s Square

– Doge’s Palace

– Bridge of Sighs

– Prisons

– St Mark’s Basilica

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking

– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.

– Adult pricing applies to all travelers

– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced at St. Mark’s Basilica. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts.

Departure point:
St Mark’s Square

Duration:
2 hours

Return details:
Concludes St. Mark’s Basilica

Private Secret Venice Tour

Venice - Rialto - Night View
Venice - Rialto - Rialto BridgeVenice - Rialto - Gran CanalVenice -  Rialto  - Church of St. Giacomo - FacadeVenice - Chiesa dei Frari - ExteriorVenice - Chiesa dei Frari - InteriorVenice - Chiesa dei Frari - Altar

From: $43.53

 

TOUR DURATION

2 Hours

START TIME

02:00 pm

mon, TUe, Wed, Thu, fri, sat

MEETING POINT

Rialto bridge, more details at booking

Tour
Itinerary
Tour
Inclusions
Tour
Information

 

TOUR ITINERARY

Your guide will meet you at the outstanding Rialto Bridge for your Private Secrete Venice Tour. Your journey features a two hour walking tour of the beautiful San Polo Sestriere.

Your tour will start immediately: beginning your visit from the stunning Rialto Bridge is a perfect way to understand what Venice can offer you! The original bridge was built in wood and it was destroyed many times before the actual stone one was erected at the end of the 16th century. Today this is the emblem of Venice!

From the Rialto Bridge you will straightaway reach the Rialto area famous for its ancient market established in 1097. The market was very popular and for centuries it contributed to the wealth and growth of Venice. A terrible fire destroyed the area during the 16th century, luckily the beautiful Church of San Giacomo di Rialto survived and today it is a perfect example of the splendor of this quarter. Your guide will walk you through the beautiful little streets of the Rialto until you will reach the heart of the stunning San Polo Sestriere. Here your guide will unveil in front of your eyes the beauty of one of the oldest Venice’s districts.

Your next stop will be the Chiesa dei Frari, one of the most famous churches of the lagoon and a unique example of Italian Gothic Style. This Franciscan Church has a simple exterior made of brick to remind to the visitors the austerity of the Order. However the inside of the church will offer you many stunning pieces of art like two paintings by the Renaissance master Titian or the first Donatello’s Venetian work.

From here you will be free to continue to explore on your own this wonderful city!

 

TOUR INCLUSIONS

– Expert local guide at disposal (2 hours)

– Chiesa dei Frari entrance fees

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

– Visit of Chiesa dei Frari

– Rialto Bridge

– San Polo Sestriere

– Rialto Market

– Church of San Giacomo di Rialto

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking

– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.

– Adult pricing applies to all travelers.

– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in Churches. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts.

– The tour is not fully accessible for wheelchairs or people with walking disabilities.

Departure point:

Rialto Bridge

Duration:
2 hours

Return details:
Chiesa dei Frari

Veneto Hill Towns

Marostica - Night View
Marostica - ViewMarostica - PiazzaMarostica - FestivalAsolo - viewBassano del Grappa - BridgeBassano del Grappa - View

The Villa Barbaro, also known as Villa di Maser, is located on the foot of the Asolo Hills about 50 km from Venice. The villa was designed by the great Italian architect Andrea Palladio in 1560. Although its model is close to resurgent Roman villas like Villa Giulia or Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Palladio managed to combine the elegance of a summer villa with the practicality of a farm, seamlessly connecting the service area to the main building with large arcades. The artist Paolo Veronese decorated the interior with many influential frescoes while Alessandro Vittoria contributed stunning stucco decorations and several sculptures. The villa was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Today, it is at the center of an agricultural holding known mainly for the production of wine named after the villa.

Things to see

The Barbaro family ordered the construction of this villa in the mid-1500s. Over the years, the villa passed on to the Trevisan family and later to the Basadonna family from whom Lodovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice, came from. The villa fell into disrepair during the early 19th century but was eventually bought and renovated by wealthy industrialist Sante Giacomelli. During the First World War, the villa was occupied by Italian forces who used it as headquarters and outpost. In 1934, the villa was purchased by Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata who continued to restore it; his descendants still live there today.

Andrea Palladio also built the Tempietto Barbaro, a small church that served both the villa and the nearby village of Maser. It is a compact domed structure with a temple front reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, two small bell towers prefacing the dome. It is likely that the church faced a small plaza which has long since been paved over.

Another particular feature of the Villa Barbaro is the Nymphaeum located behind it. These large monuments are typical of Roman gardens and were originally dedicated to the local water nymphs. The one at Villa Barbaro is decorated with several statues and frames a spring water fishpond.


Villa Emo    

Designed and built in the mid 16th century by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Villa Emo is one of Palladio’s best works and a countryside jewel. In fact, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, along with Villa Barbaro, another of Palladio’s edifices.

Located in the lush Veneto region of Italy, some 40 km from Venice, Villa Emo is a simple yet elegant union of summer palace and working farm. Devoid of embellishments on the outside, conversely the interior is richly decorated with frescoes by the late Renaissance artist Giovanni Battista Zelotti. These frescoes celebrate mythological scenes as well as agricultural life, noble virtues, family and fertility.

Bassano del Grappa

Bassano del Grappa - View
Bassano del Grappa - BridgeBassano del Grapppa - Piazza RepubblicaBassano del Grappa - Panorama

Bassano del Grappa is a modest town in the Veneto region, located north of Venice and built between the foothills of the Venetian Prealps and the bank of the Brenta River. The 16th century painter Jacopo Bassano lived, worked and died in this town, even adopting its name as his own. Bassano del Grappa is also famous for the invention of the Grappa, a strong, pomace-derived spirit traditionally enjoyed after dinner as a digestif.

Bassano was founded as an agricultural estate in the 2nd century BC by a Roman called Bassianus, who then gave his name to the city. Over the centuries it flourished thanks to trade and its industry of wool, silk and metals. Its history remains relatively quiet up until the French Revolutionary Wars, when the town because the site of the Battle of Bassano in 1796. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have remained in Bassano del Grappa for many months.

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Again, Bassano became the site of more, violent battles during World War I; many soldiers lost their lives on the nearby Mount Grappa. Originally called Bassano Veneto, the town changed its name in 1928 to Bassano del Grappa in honor of the dead soldiers. Interestingly, several American authors spent time in Bassano during the war, including Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway. The latter settled in the town for a time and wrote his novel “A Farewell to Arms” based on his experiences.

Bassano offers several lovely sights and historical attractions, such as the Duomo Santa Maria in Colle, a cathedral built in the early 2nd century and later renovated in a more Baroque style. It is the oldest cathedral in the town and boasts a collection of works by Leandro da Bassano, Ottavio Marinali and other artists. The Church of St. Francis, built in the 13th century in the Romanesque-Gothic style, rises above Piazza Garibaldi. Within are 14th and 15th century frescoes, including “The Crucifixion” by Guariento di Arpo. Nearby is the civic museum which hosts a collection of archeological artifacts as well as various works of art by Jacopo Bassano, Antonio Canova, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Albrecht Dürer.

Finally, there is the Ponte Vecchio or Ponte degli Alpini, a covered wooden bridge that spans the Brenta River. It was designed by the architect Andrea Palladio in 1569 to replace a pre-existing medieval bridge. The bridge was destroyed many times, the last time occurring during World War II.

Asolo

Asolo - view

Also known as “The City of a Hundred Horizons”, Asolo is a small town located in the Veneto region. It is considered one of the nicest cities in Italy thanks to its culture, architecture and of course, fine cuisine. Surrounded by a rampart, Asolo is built around a hill with the fortress La Rocca erected on top, overlooking the whole town. Old houses and narrow medieval streets with arches are the main components of the city.

Thanks to the Alps, Asolo enjoys a mild climate, best enjoyed with a walk through its historical streets, passing under arches, or by visiting one of its many gardens and villas. This small city has always attracted artists, poets, writers and singers, inspired by its charm. For instance the author Pietro Bembo wrote “Gli Asolani”, which makes a few references to Asolo, while the poet Robert Browning bought Villa Cipriani in 1889 and briefly lived in Asolo until his passing.

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Visitors can explore the medieval fortress on top of the hill and continue their visit to the Civic Museum. Another interesting place to explore is the Castle of Queen Caterina Cornaro (the queen of Cyprus between 1474 and 1489). She stayed in this castle with her court during the 15th century and it later became her official residence. As the years passed, the castle of Queen Caterina Cornaro became the symbol of the Asolan countryside. Three of its four towers still stand today.

Finally, a visit in Asolo is not complete without stopping in one of its restaurant to enjoy a delicious Italian meal accompanied by tasty wines from the area such as the Asolo Prosecco Superiore, a dry yet sparkling white wine.

Cortina

Cortina -  Dolomities - street view
Dolomities - CortinaCortina -  Dolomities - panoramaDolomities - viewDolomities - mountainsDolomities  - LakeLake Misurina - view

In the heart of the Dolomite Mountains, in a quiet valley, can be found a small city named Cortina. This city is the capital of the Dolomites, an area located in the north Veneto; it is only 44 kilometers away from the Austrian border. Cortina d’Ampezzo, as it is formally called, is situated in the province of Belluno, 1210 meters above sea level.

Considered to be one of the Dolomites’ treasures, Cortina is well known for its VIP tourists and its luxury hotels. The city has a lovely ancient city center while the main street, called Corso Italia, is composed of several luxury shops. While Cortina is traditionally an elegant and trendy ski resort, it is also very agreeable during the summer. It was the first Italian city to host the Winter Olympic Games in 1956.

Things to see

Each winter, the Cortina Winter Polo tournament, the most important yearly event in the area, is held in the city. During the 1980s, a group of Swiss came up with the idea of playing Polo in the winter, specifically of playing on the frozen lake of Saint Moritz. In 1989, a group of Roman friends who shared a passion for Polo decided to create a tournament in Cortina just like the one in Saint Moritz. The Cortina Winter Polo Gold Cup was born and quickly became one of the most prestigious events in Europe. The presence of famous Italian and international entrepreneurs eventually attracted more and more people, making the city famous.

Today, Cortina belongs to a network composed of twelve different internationally renowned ski resorts called “Best of the Alps”. Cortina offers 140 kilometers worth of different marked ski runs. The longest run links Cortina to Dobbiaco and is about 30 kilometers long.

Lake Misurina

Lake Misurina - view
Lake Carezza - viewDolomities  - Lake

Among the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy, there is a beautiful and quiet lake: Lake Misurina, found in the historical area of Cadore. It is considered the biggest lake in the Cadore area, giving its name to the small town on its shore. The lake can easily be explored by foot thanks to the paths that were built around it. The whole tour takes approximately one hour and offers beautiful views on the lake, the forest and the Dolomites Mountains.

Things to see

Lake Misurina is located 1754 meters above sea level and is about five meters deep with a perimeter of 2.6 kilometers. It is surrounded by different beautiful mountains: in the north we can see the summit of Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2999 meters), in the West is Monte Cristallo (3 221 meters) while in the East is the Gruppo dei Cadini. Finally, in the south is Mount Sorapiss, which is clearly reflected on the water. Lake Misurina is also surrounded by a great forest composed of many conifers and fir trees.

The different mountains around the lake still have vestiges from World War I, including military roads, tunnels, caves and shacks. Now a quiet place, Queen Margherita of Savoy chose Lake Misurina as a holiday destination after her husband King Umberto I was assassinated by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci. The lake is not simply a popular holiday attraction; given that the air there is so pure, an important clinic that specializes in curing children with asthma was built to take advantage of it.

Sant’Anastasia church

Verona - Panorama
Verona - St Anastasia - interior

The first Church of Sant’Anastasia was built during the reign of Theodoric the Great, king of Ostrogoth. In fact, two different churches were built on the current site of Sant’Anastasia: one dedicated to Saint Anastasia and another dedicated to Saint Remy. In the 13th century, the churches were given to the Dominicans who decided to transform the two churches into a single one. They dedicated this church to Saint Peter, martyr of Verona, but people continued to call it the Church of Saint Anastasia.

Things to see

Sant’Anastasia is the largest church in Verona, built in the Italian Gothic style. It is composed of three different crossed naves supported by twelve huge red marble columns. Aside from providing relious services, the Saint Anastasia Church can also be considered a museum as it contains several masterpieces from the Middle Ages. While visiting this church, it is possible to see the Gothic fresco of Altichiero Da Zevio, the fresco of Adoration of the Virgin, and the fresco of Pisanello in the Giusti chapel. Pisanetto’s fresco represents St Georges delivering the princess of Trebizond.  The church also boasts a collection of 17 terracottas made by Michele da Firenze.Many other artworks can be admired, made by Pietro da Forlezza, Cattaneo, Liberale da Verona, Girolamo dai Libri, Giolfino, Brusasorc and others.

At the entrance of Saint Anastasia Church, there is a sculpture of two hunchbacks supporting a holy water stoup. Legend says that touching the hump of one of the hunchbacks is a sign of good luck.

Verona

Verona - Piazza Dante - detail
Verona - Juliets Balcony - detailVerona - view from the topVerona - arenaVerona - particularVerona - Day viewVerona - Panorama

Located in the Veneto region, Verona was founded in the first century B.C. This city is still the second most important city of the region, having been built on a strategic place on the edge of the river Adige. In 216 B.C. after the battle of Cannae, Verona was united to Rome and became one of its provinces. It earned the nickname “small Rome” since the city was such an important hub, but also for its wonderful monuments and houses. During the height of the Roman Empire, the city grew quickly: several bridges, theatres and temples were built.

During the 5th century, the city became property of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric and as a result, several conflicts began with the other cities nearby. In 1405, Verona was owned by the Republic of Venice, which led to many improvements. Indeed, the Republic of Venice affected the cultural, social and artistic development of Verona until 1797, when the city was invaded by Napoleon (and after that by the Austrians). Finally, in 1866, the city was incorporated to the Italian kingdom founded by King Victor Emmanuel II in 1861. Verona was eventually recognized under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 2000.

Things to see

The beautiful pink city of Verona became famous thanks to Shakespeare and his tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”. That play is the reason why nowadays, Verona is seen as a romantic city: tourists can see Juliet’s statue, Juliet’s house, Juliet’s tomb and many other places which reference the story of the two star-crossed lovers. There are many other monuments in Verona which have been preserved from Antiquity, the Middle Age and the Renaissance. The latter artistic period left the strongest mark and can be observed on the different buildings, which are a blend of Renaissance influences from Lombardy and Renaissance influences from Veneto.

Each year during the summer (June to September) the great Opera Festival of Verona takes place in the Arena of Verona. The most famous operas in the world can be enjoyed here, such as Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera”, Bizet’s “Carmen” or more fittingly, Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

Gondolas

Venice - Rialto Bridge - view

If there is one thing which clearly represents Venice, it is the gondola. This famous boat was originally a common means of transportation for all Venetians, whether they were rich or poor. That said, those who did not row their own gondola themselves had someone else to do it: the “gondolier”, who was essentially a personal driver. Each gondolier was dressed according to the colors of the family he was working for.

Things to see

The first mention of the name “Gondola” is dated from the 11th century. The boat’s name changed as the years passed; it was not until the 15th century that the term “gondola” was fully adopted. By the 16th century, there were no less than 10 000 gondolas navigating the canals of Venice. At first, gondolas were flatter and required two drivers but in the 19th century, they became asymmetrical in order to improve their navigation: both bow and stern were raised and the center of gravity was shifted to the right. The gondolier would then push from the left, which allows the gondola some measure of balance in order to go straight.

Composed of nearly 300 pieces from eight different types of wood, gondolas measure around 11 meters long and are only 1.38 in width at their largest point. These flat-bottom boats have on the bow a special piece made of metal named “fero de prova” (in Venetian) or “ferro di prua” in Italian. It represents many signs of the city: first, the hat of a doge, then the reversed S of the Grand Canal and third, the different islands of Venice that make up its six sestieri (districts): Canareggio Santa Croce, San Polo, Castello, San Marco, Dorsoduro and Island of Giudeca.

In the past, the gondolas were painted with beautiful colors and ornamented with precious stones. Noble families would compete with each other to have the most beautiful gondola in the city. This phenomenon became so big that in the 17th century, the Doge published a decree saying that all gondolas had to be completely black and undecorated. That is why today we can admire all these wonderful black gondolas. There are roughly 500 gondolas navigating the waters nowadays, most of which are in the business of taking tourists through the canals to explore Venice.

Rialto Bridge

Venice - Rialto Bridge - ponte
Venice - Rialto Bridge - detailVenice - Rialto Bridge - viewVenice - Rialto Bridge - view from the water

The Rialto district was one of the first areas of Venice where people settled. It developed quickly and became an important economic center in the city. Banks, shops and vendor stalls congregated here while merchants from all over the world came to trade charcoal, wines, seeds, jewels and many other things. This richness of activity convinced the government of the Republic of Venice to connect the business district to the political district, leading to the inception of the Rialto Bridge.

The very first Rialto Bridge was made of boats moored to each other. This system lasted until the 13th century as it was not very convenient; if the boats needed to move, it was a tedious process to remove the planks that connected one boat to the other. An actual wooden bridge was built but the wood quickly decomposed and the bridge collapsed. Many other wooden bridges were built over time with the same result –or worse, they were destroyed by fire. Unfortunately, at that time the construction of wooden bridges was easier and cheaper than the alternative.

Things to see

It was not until the 16th century that Venetians finally decided to build the bridge out of stone. Many famous architects such as Palladio, Sansovino and Michelangelo offered their designs for a new bridge with several arches. In the end it was the proposal of Antonio Da Ponte, with only one arch, that was chosen in 1588.

For a long time, the Rialto Bridge was the only bridge on the Grand Canal, however now there are four. The Ponte dell’Accademia and the Ponte Degli Scalzi were both built during the 19th century while the last bridge, the Constitution Bridge, is very recent –it was inaugurated in just 2008!

Very often criticized in its day, the Rialto Bridge has survived floods and thousand of tourists and Venetians alike crossing it every day. Today, the Rialto Bridge is one of the emblems of the city; it can be seen on nearly all advertisement for Venice and is often used to illustrate anything related to the city of Venice.

Bridge of Sighs

Venice - Bridge of Sighs - view
Venice - Bridge of Sighs - day view

Il Ponte dei Sospiri (“the Bridge of Sighs”) is one of the smallest and most famous bridges in the world, its mere 11 meters linking the courthouse to the jail. The bridge gets its name from the prisoners who were going to the courthouse or coming back to the jail –although prisoners were often convicted to death and would yell more than sigh. Stretching over the canal called Rio de Palazzo, it was built in 1600 out of white limestone.

The bridge is composed of two different corridors, one for prisoners coming to the courthouse and the second for those returning to jail. The corridors were convenient since they made it possible to move two different prisoners at the same time without allowing them to talk to each other. The bridge is completely closed so as to prevent the prisoners from jumping into the canal and escaping. At the same time, it prevented people from seeing prisoners being brought into the courthouse.

Things to see

As the years passed, the Bridge became one of the main attractions in Venice. It is now considered as a romantic bridge that people, particularly lovers, come to photographs. One of the ideas about why the bridge became a romantic place to see comes from a poem of Lord Byron in which he mentioned it. The poem is a song which comes from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and is named Canto the Fourth. It starts as following: “I stood in Venice, on the “Bridge of Sighs;” A Palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise”.

Doge’s Palace

Venice - Bridge of Sighs - view
Venice - Doges Palace - side viewVenice - Doges Palace  - view from the lagoonVenice - Bridge of Sighs - day view

A long time ago, Venetians built a castle to house their government and all their leaders in a single place. The first Doge’s Palace was a medieval castle composed of the Doge’s apartments, the government of the Republic of Venice, the courthouse and a jail. As time passed, the castle became too small for the government and finally it was destroyed by a fire. The Palace was rebuilt in pink marble between the 4th and 5th centuries, though it was made more spacious so as to contain a room for the Great Council. Over the years, several other fires partially destroyed the palace and many renovations and extensions were made, giving it the aspect it has today.

The Doge’s Palace has a very particular and fascinating structure, in that it was built differently from the other buildings in Venice: instead of having a strong base, its architects decided to put a first level made of galleries and thin arcades. Shockingly, the whole building stands on this elegant first level.

Things to see

The interiors of the Doge’s Palace were decorated by several famous Renaissance artists such as Veronese, Tintoretto and Titian. Tintoretto is the creator of “The Paradise” in the Great Council room. This giant canvas is considered one of the biggest masterpieces in the world, reaching nearly 25 meters in length.

Due to its location, each of the four sides of the Palace faces an interesting part of Venice. One side faces Saint Mark’s Square and where the courthouse once stood while another faces the lagoon and the Grand Canal. The view that the latter side offers was reserved for the government. The third side faces the canal called Rio de la Canonica, where the Bridge of Sighs can be admired.  This side is where the Doge had his apartments. The last side shares a wall in common with Saint Mark’s Basilica.

For several centuries, the Doge’s Palace was the only building in Venice allowed to be called “Palace”. The others palaces had to name themselves Ca’ which was the short form for “casa”, meaning “house” in Italian.

St Mark Square

Venice - St Mark Square  -  piazza
Venice- St Mark Square - detailVenice - St Mark Square  -  piazzaVenice - St Mark Basilica -  detailvenice - Doges  Palace - side viewVenice - San Marco - squarevenice - Piazza San Marco - particular

The Piazza San Marco is one of the most famous squares in the world. The elegant space has been used for the political, religious and commercial life of Venice for hundreds of years.

The square is composed of several buildings with different types of architecture, all of them boasting a rich past. First is the Basilica of Saint Mark, built in the Byzantine style in 828 to contain the mummy of Saint Mark. This basilica is a good example of the connections that existed between Venice and Constantinople. Next to the basilica is Saint Mark’s Campanile, one of the most symbolic monuments of Venice, its recognizable shape visible from quite a distance away. This huge tower of 96 meters collapsed in 1902 but was rebuilt exactly as it was. It is possible to reach its summit and enjoy a breathtaking view over the Piazza San Marco and the rest of Venice.

Near the entrance of the campanile is the Logetta, made by Sansovini in 1540. It was first a meeting room for the Venetian aristocracy then later became a room for the guards of the Doges’ Palace. The clock tower is an interesting early Renaissance building worth admiring while exploring the square.

Things to see

The Palazzo Ducale, facing both the piazzetta and the water, is a symbol of the power the Republic of Venice once held. It was the political center of the Doge as well as his living quarters. Interestingly, the Doge’s Palace is full of secret passages which allowed people to go between several bedrooms and offices.

The columns of San Marco and San Todaro on the quay frame the main entrance into the square for people coming from the sea. The two columns of granite were brought from Constantinople in 1172. The column of San Todaro honors the homonym figure, who was the first patron saint of Venice before the body of Saint Mark was stolen from Egypt by two Venetian merchants and brought to the city in the 9th century. These columns were once the place where people were executed; to this day, some Venetians refuse to walk between the two columns as they believe it would bring bad luck

Venice

Venice - Rialto Bridge - view
Venice - St Mark Square  -  piazzaVenice - Doges Palace - side viewVenice - Doges Palace  - view from the lagoonVenice - Canal Grande - viewVenice - Rialto Bridge - view from the waterVenice - Bridge of Sighs - viewVenice - Rialto Bridge - ponteVenice - Rialto Bridge - viewGrand Canal at night, Venice

Venice, sometimes referred to as the “Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia”, has always been a fascinating city. In fact, it is considered one of the most fabulous cities in the world, looking like no other with its canals and colored palaces built on the water. Its carnival in February is, of course, something not to be missed: each year the city maintains this traditional carnival that originates from the Middle Ages and during which people compete with the most beautiful of costumes and masks.

The original population came to Venice in the early 5th century in order to escape from the invading barbarians. Many refugees escaped the mainland and increased the preexisting population of fishermen, turning Venice into a thriving trade city. During the decline of the Roman Empire, Venice became the property of Byzantium. The first person to uphold the traditional role of Doge was Paolo Lucio Anafesto, nominated in 697, but he was considered more of a Byzantine official. It was not until 727 that a real Doge, Orso Ipato, was elected. The decline of Venice started during the Renaissance period when the rival city of Genoa became more powerful thanks to the discovery of the North America. In 1797, the territories of Venice were shared between Austria and France then in 1866, Venice joined the Italian Unification, leading it to where it is now.

Things to see

Venice is composed of six different districts: Cannaregio, San Marco, Castello, Santa Croce, Dorsoduro and San Polo. The city is built on more than 100 hundred islets made of mud, with more than 400 bridges to allow people a cross the different canals that run through the city. The three most famous Venetian bridges are: the Accademia Bridge, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs.

Nowadays, Venice attracts thousands of tourists each year and organizes many events and festivals such as the International Architecture Exhibition between June and September, the Carnival of Venice in February, or the International Venice Film Festival in September. Unfortunately, the fate of this legendary city is in great question: many plans have been made to save it from the rising waters and pollution but its future is still uncertain.