Private Tour

Venice Private Tour of St Mark Basilica and Doge Palace

Art & History
Duration: 3 Hours
Languages: EN, ES, RU

Explore two of the Floating City’s most iconic sites and learn the stories behind them on this skip the line Venice private tour of St Mark Basilica and Doge Palace. This exclusive walking tour also includes an expertly guided visit of the Bridge of Sighs and the prison area. The perfect itinerary to get a deeper understanding of the history of Venice, its political system and its artistic splendors.

Perfect for:
  • First Timers
  • Art & History Lovers
Covid-19 Health & Safety Measures

What to Expect

Travel back in time to the golden age when the Venetian Empire ruled the seas. You will discover the history behind Venice’s major landmarks on this Venice private tour of St Mark Basilica and Doge Palace. This expert-led experience is designed to transport you back to the golden age of power that Venice wielded for centuries, shedding light on the gilded basilica and the mighty palace.


The elegant Piazza San Marco, the political and religious heart of the Floating City for over 1,000 years, is the starting point for this Venice private tour of St Mark Basilica and Doge Palace. Praised by Napoleon as the most beautiful drawing room in Europe, this spacious square is the only one in Venice to merit the title “piazza.” Its graceful Renaissance arches shelter some of the city’s most elegant shops and historic cafes.


Your guide will present the buildings in St. Mark’s Square, each of which had significance in the political, religious, and everyday lives of Venetians during the Empire. At the eastern end of the spacious piazza is the St. Mark’s Basilica, one of the world’s most extravagant basilicas. With its Byzantine style domes and its stunning golden mosaics, the Basilica is a testament to Venice’s historical power as a sea-trading empire, and to its political links with both East and West.


After learning about this famed square, get straight inside the Basilica with skip the line access. Unlike anything else in Italy, this Byzantine treasure trove includes golden mosaics, marbled inlaid floors, gem-encrusted altars and priceless works of art. Be awed by its beauty as your guide explains the art and the history in the Biblical scenes and spectacular architecture of Venice’s most illustrious masterpiece.


Adjacent to the Basilica is the iconic palace of the city, residence of the Doge and seat of the Venetian government until Napoleon’s conquest in 1797. Today the Doge’s Palace houses myriad Renaissance masterpieces, including Tintoretto’s Paradiso, one of the largest paintings on canvas ever produced. The Doge’s Palace also contains the infamous Bridge of Sighs where prisoners took a last, wistful look of Venice before descending to the dank dungeons below.


Once again, you skip the lines to explore all the finest attractions of the palace that are accessible to the public, from the external courtyard, to the loggia, and up to the Golden Staircase. As you walk through the ornate rooms, you will learn about this powerful maritime republic, its role in trade with the East, and its avant-garde political thinking. Your guide will point out the impressive paintings by Tintoretto and Veronese, the armory, and the Great Council Hall.


Along the way, your guide unveils secret stories of power and corruption at the Doge’s Palace including the tale of Marin Faliero, the Doge accused of high treason whose portrait is covered by a black cloth. Finally, walk through the Bridge of Sighs into the New Prisons where your guide will share how Casanova and generations of political and criminal prisoners spent their miserable last days before being executed.


  • St. Mark’s Square
  • Skip the line entrance into St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Skip the line entrance into the Doge’s Palace
  • New Prisons
  • Bridge of Sighs

What Is Included

  • Private licensed professional local guide
  • Tickets & reservation fees for skip the line access to the Doge’s Palace
  • Tickets & reservation fees for skip the line access to St. Mark’s Basilica

What Is Not Included

  • Transportation
  • Meals & Drinks
  • Gratuities (Optional)
  • Anything not expressly mentioned as included

Meeting Point

St. Mark’s Square. Full details provided upon booking.

Important Information

  • This private tour is available on request any day except Sunday mornings, December 25, January 1, May 1 and August 15.
  • St. Mark’s Basilica is subject to closure without notice. When this occurs, we are happy to offer clients an extended tour of the Basilica from outside and of St. Mark’s Square.
  • For safety reasons all visitors to St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace must pass through a security line and there is sometimes a line for this.
  • Skip-the-line access into St. Mark’s Basilica is unavailable from November 1 – March 31. Lines during this time of year are minimal and should not delay your tour.
  • From August 6th, 2021 until further notice, all public venues in Italy will require clients and guides alike to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test completed within 48 hours prior to entry. They will also require to present valid ID matching the vaccination or test results. This does not apply to children under 12. You can read more about it here.

Good to Know Before You Go

  • Occasionally, this tour may run in reverse order visiting the Doge’s Palace prior to entering St. Mark’s Basilica.
  • Appropriate dress is required for entry into St Mark Basilica. Knees, shoulders and backs must be covered. Tank tops, bare shoulders or short skirts are not permitted. By not being properly attired, you run into the risk of being denied entry.
  • You cannot enter the Basilica with large bags, umbrellas, and tripods. These items must be checked into the free luggage storage area off-site at Ateneo San Basso located in Piazzetta dei Leoncini on the left side of St Mark’s Basilica.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users or those with impaired mobility.

How to Book Your Private Tour

  • Send Us Your Inquiry
    Fill out the tour inquiry form and we will respond with availability and price quote.
  • Payment Policy
    The tour will only be reserved upon full payment in advance of the tour. We use industry leader Stripe for all card transactions.
  • Tour Voucher
    Within two business days of payment, we will email you a voucher with all the booking details including the meeting point and phone number. Such email constitutes your proof of purchase.

Tour FAQs

Why can’t I see a price?

We offer personalized, private travel experiences. The price depends on your party size and preferences.

Does the tour includes the Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries?

Although this Venice private tour of St Mark Basilica and Doge Palace includes both the Bridge of Sighs and the prison area, due to changes in the booking policy of the Doge's Palace, this tour no longer includes a visit to the Secret Itineraries portion of the Palace.

Would you like to personalize this tour?

If you would like us to put together a bespoke tour tailored to your needs, our dedicated trip planning specialists are on hand to help you develop an experience that will be just right for you and yours.

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Venice Private Tour of St Mark Basilica and Doge Palace