This full day Venice shore trip includes a private cruise along Venice's Grand Canal followed by a two hour walking tour to see the cities top sights. After a lunch break you enjoy an additional two hour tour to explore the ancient market area around the Rialto Bridge.
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 savour 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).
This afternoon you meet your guide again to enjoy another walking tour. You will explore the Rialto area, including the Rialto Bridge, one of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, and the oldest of them. The original bridge was built of wood but it was replaced in 1588 with the current stone structure. The area around the bridge is where ships would unload their goods for the Venetian local markets. Today the bridge and surrounding area is loaded with shops.
The Rialto area was initially Venice's city center but overcrowding pushed activities towards the sea in what today is the area of St Mark. Rialto was the home to Venice's main market and spices from the Orient, fabrics, silk, precious metals and the most extravagant goods were an integral part of the city. In this area you would find a fascinating mix of people and cultures.
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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