This full day Venice cruise tour includes a Grand Canal cruise, a highlights of Venice walking tour and then you explore Venice's Jewish History in the district of Canaregio, which includes the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogues.
Your licensed guide meets you at the Venice cruise terminal and then leads you to your private water taxi waiting nearby. Once on board you will cruise the full length of Venice's most famous street, the Grand Canal. Venice is best enjoyed from the water, so sit back and savor this truly unique city as you glide past beautiful palaces, peek into tiny canals and watch famous bridges pass overhead.
The Grand Canal is the most important canal in Venice and it divides the city into two parts. The canal is flanked along its entire length by magnificent buildings from the 12th to 17th centuries. Along this fascinating canal, your guide will tell you legends related to some of the most famous and beautiful sites of the city such as the Rialto Bridge and the many luxurious houses, built by the richest families, to show their power like a showcase.
Your Grand Canal cruise ends at the famous St. Mark's square. Starting here you will enjoy a two hour walking tour to include St. Marks Square and Basilica, the Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Prisons.
St Mark's Square is the heart of the city and symbol of Venice. It is enriched by the presence of the famous bell tower, small shops and elegant cafes. It is dominated by St. Mark's Basilica which is dedicated to the city's patron saint who was martyred by the Turks in Alexandria, Egypt. The church was originally built in 829 AD to house his remains.
The Doge's Palace was once the home of the Doges (Dukes) who were officials that were elected for life. It also served as the seat of government and a courthouse. This Gothic Renaissance building was begun in 1173 and it incorporates some of walls and towers of a previous castle from 810. In 1340, an addition included the Great Council Room which is an architectural wonder considering the vast size of the room with an unsupported ceiling.
The Bridge of Sighs was built in 1614 to link the Doge's Palace to the structure intended to house the Prison. Enclosed and covered on all sides, the bridge contains two separate corridors that run next to each other. The famous name of the bridge dates from the Romantic period and was supposed to refer to the sighs of prisoners who, passing from the courtroom to the cell in which they would serve their sentence, took a last look at freedom.
After your walking tour you have free time to enjoy lunch (meal not included).
After lunch you have a tour of the Canaregio District, which includes the Jewish Ghetto. The presence of Jewish people in Venice has very deep roots. The Jewish quarter is a place full of charm, history and anecdotes. The first settlements of Jews in the Veneto region date back to the 4th century. The community increased greatly following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 when hundreds of thousands of people sought refuge in Portugal, Turkey and Italy.
In Venice the community grew and organized, enjoying a climate of tolerance, until 1516 when the Council of Pregadi (Senate) decided that all Jews were obliged to live in Ghetto novo (the word Ghetto was born in Venice). Because of this decree the first ghetto was formed and many other European cities followed this path. During the 1500s various synagogues were built, one for each homogeneous group of Jews, creating a very interesting cultural mix between the different nationalities of Jews in Venice.
As the community flourished and expanded the buildings in the quarter were raised to considerable heights, up to seven stories which was unique for its time and still today for Venice. Over time and despite the growth upward, the Jewish community expanded and there were eventually three ghettos: Ghetto Novo, Old Ghetto and Ghetto Novissimo.
You will have a walking tour of the Ghetto, its streets and canals seeing these buildings which are still an architectural complex of great interest. You will see the synagogues of Schola Canton, Schola Italiana (built in 1575 and famous for being the place where Leon from Modena took his prayers), Schola Levantina (1538) and the German Schola (founded by German immigrants).
To end your tour, you will be joined by a Jewish museum Guide who will take you to visit the interior of one of the beautiful synagogues.
Mobility Notes- Venice is a city of canals and bridges. There are no automobiles in the city and therefore boats and walking are the only means of transport. The streets are made of cobblestones and bridges have as many as 200 steps. No wheelchair access is available.
Private Water Taxi Notes- Water taxis have an interior cabin with bench seats and windows. Most taxis also have a forward or stern seating area with a few outside seats.
Church Notes- Churches in Italy have a dress code. No bare shoulders, no shorts, no dresses above the knee, and no bare feet or exposed midriffs are allowed. Large purses or backpacks are not allowed. Tour guides are not allowed to provide commentary inside the Basilica, so your guide will explain the interior prior to your visit.
Doges Palace Notes- Large purses or backpacks are not allowed in the Doge's Palace. Please bring only small items or you may be turned away.
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