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Saint Mark's Basilica

Venice's most famous church is also a fascinating testament to its medieval wealth and power.

Saint Mark's Basilica: Our most recommended tours and activities

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

1. Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

Delve deep into Venice’s history with a 3-hour guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, either as a private tour or shared group experience. Take in two of the city’s most important landmarks while discovering the history of the one-time mercantile capital of the Mediterranean.  Start by exploring St. Mark's Square with your guide before heading into the cathedral. From the first-floor terrace you’ll be able to admire views across the lagoon and see the famous bronze horses up close. Hear how they traveled all the way to Paris and back in Napoleon’s time. St. Mark's Basilica sometimes closes to visitors without warning. If this happens, visit the Church of San Zaccaria or the Correr Museum instead, depending on availability. Take a tour of the beautifully ornate 15th-century church and its flooded crypt or learn about the art and history of Venice. Next, you’ll use the priority entrance to reach Doge's Palace, formerly the residence of the leader of the Republic of Venice. Enjoy visiting the Chamber of the Great Council and courtrooms among other things. Highlights include frescoes by Tintoretto and the Giants’ Staircase.  After this, cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs that links to the New Prisons. Learn how the bridge got its name and the purpose for its construction in the 17th century as you take in the amazing views of the canals. At the end of your tour, feel free to stay and explore the Doge’s Palace with tips from your guide.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Fast-Track Entry and Audio Guide

2. Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Fast-Track Entry and Audio Guide

Save time during your visit to Venice with a skip-the-line ticket to the popular St. Mark’s Basilica. Admire the hundreds of golden mosaics in the Basilica and learn details about the byzantine art inside with your audio guide. Download your audio guide to your mobile device and head to St. Mark’s Basilica to begin your tour. Breeze past the long lines and put in your headphones. Explore the five-domes and an array of artworks. Hear legends and stories surrounding this church which has stood for almost a 1,000 years.  Witness the dazzling effect of the 43,000 square feet of mosaics in the church. Take in the stunning marble inlay work on the floors. Soak up the atmosphere in the building that dominates St. Mark’s Square. 

Venice: Highlights Tour, St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace

3. Venice: Highlights Tour, St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace

Discover two of Venice's top highlights on a small group guided tour including tickets. Visit the Basilica of St. Mark and the Doge’s Palace and soak up the splendor of these Venitian landmarks. Entry to the Correr Museum, National Archeological Museum, and Biblioteca Marciana is also included. Meet your expert guide at St. Mark’s Square and start delving into the origins of Venice. See the most renowned public space in the city and find out its historical, social, and political importance. Learn about the Clock Tower and the Marble Lions. Continue to the Basilica of St. Mark and enter the cathedral with pre-reserved tickets. Savor its amazing sheer size and the fascinating golden mosaics. Learn about its opulent design and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power. Bask in all the exotic elements of Venetian Renaissance Art. Listen to the story of the life-size horses of St Mark’s Basilica, and have all your questions answered. Follow your guide through Doge’s Palace at a relaxed pace. Acquaint yourself with the supreme authority and wealth of the ruling Venetian Doges in the palace’s Gothic architecture. Learn about the 14th-century sculptors that worked on the palace. Enjoy stunning views across the Lagoon as you explore this world-famous landmark. Continue to the Old Prison that was part of the Doge’s Palace, learn why the New Prisons were built, and understand the significance of the Bridge of Sighs, another highlight of Venice. Listen to the extraordinary story of the famous Casanova and his life in Venice. Your admission ticket also includes entry to the Correr Museum on St. Mark's Square. The building was originally designed as a residence for Napoleon, and later became the Venetian residence of the King of Italy. Entry to the National Archeological Museum and Biblioteca Marciana is also included.

Venice Doge's Palace & St Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour

4. Venice Doge's Palace & St Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour

Set off on a guided walking tour of St. Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace, and St Mark's Basilica with skip-the-line entry. Meet your guide at St. Mark’s Square and head for Doge's Palace, the extraordinary palace that served as the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. Enter the splendid rooms, with hundreds of painted masterpieces. Explore where the Duke and his Council controlled the fate of a 1,000-year republic and admire the details of the medieval gold staircase. See the famous Bridge of Sighs. Enter the notorious Venetian prison that held Giacomo Casanova. Visit St Mark’s Basilica and enjoy a guided tour of this Byzantine masterpiece, with its beautiful gold mosaics and marble floor inlays. See the treasure and the terrace of the Basilica of St.Mark's

Venice: Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour

5. Venice: Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour

See the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica, two of the most iconic sites in Venice, on a guided tour. For centuries, the destiny of the Most Serene Republic was decided in the majestic halls of the Doge’s Palace. Walk through the magnificent halls and marvel at the well-conserved priceless treasures, art masterpieces, and frescos. Visit the prison, passing over the celebrated Bridge of Sighs, so called because prisoners often sighed while looking at their beloved lagoon and freedom for the last time before reaching their cells. Among the famous guests of the Doge’s Palace prisons was Giacomo Casanova, the celebrated seducer and adventurer who managed to escape from the prison in 1756. Next, head to St. Mark’s Basilica, one of the world’s most stunning churches. As the name suggests, this cathedral is bound tightly to Venice’s patron, St. Mark, and the saint's remains are in fact here. Admire the breathtaking golden mosaics covering the high walls, and see the Pala d’Oro, an altarpiece made from hundreds of pieces of enamel on a golden leaf.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour

6. Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour

Discover Saint Mark's Square and the Golden Basilica on a tour with an expert guide. Learn about the history of the square, which was once the private chapel of the Doge of Venice. Admire its sumptuous golden mosaics and impressive marble inlay flooring, making it one-of-a-kind in Italy. Take in the historical ambiance and listen to your guide as they describe the biblical scenes represented throughout the building, together with history and particularities of this ancient Basilica. Visit Saint Mark's Basilica first floor museum and see the famous horses and admire Saint Mark's Square from the Basilica's terrace.

From Rome: Day Trip to Venice by High-Speed Train

7. From Rome: Day Trip to Venice by High-Speed Train

Set off on a day trip from Rome to explore Venice, Europe’s most romantic city. Enjoy a relaxing ride on a high-speed train, see the iconic St. Mark's Square, and cross the Bridge of Sighs. Meet your tour leader at Rome's Termini train station and board a high-speed train to Venice. When you arrive in the city, get your one-way pass for Venice’s waterbus transportation. Follow your guide onto a Vaporetto (waterbus). As you ride, enjoy your first glimpse of this magical water city. Head to St. Mark’s Square, the heart and soul of Venice. From the waterfront, marvel at the magnificence of the western façade of St. Mark's Basilica. Enjoy some free time to go shopping, sip a delicious Italian coffee, or get lost in the maze of insanely romantic alleys. Next, cross the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), which is among the city's most beloved and most Instagrammable locations. On the way back to the railway station, join your tour leader for a fantastic aperitivo, or Cicchetti, as the locals call it. Sit down for a mix of small savory side dishes, typically served in a bàcari, and wash it down with a Venetian Spritz. Return to Rome on the high-speed train with your guide.

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace & Doge’s Palace

8. Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace & Doge’s Palace

Immerse yourself in the history of Venice on a tour of the once-great maritime empire. Explore 2 of the floating city’s most important buildings: St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace. Meet your guide in St. Mark’s Square, and step inside St. Mark’s Basilica. Get an in-depth look at how Venice built a mercantile empire that once spanned the entire Mediterranean. Marvel at the priceless treasures within and enjoy special access to the 1st-floor terrace, where you can see the famous horses stolen from Constantinople during the 4th Crusade. Skip the lines to the Doge’s Palace, and explore the political heart of the Venetian Empire. Admire the opulent apartments and Hall of the Great Council where laws were made under the stunning frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Tour the armory and prisons to learn how grim life was for anyone unlucky enough to be taken prisoner. Discover the secret behind the mysterious black veil and walk across the Bridge of Sighs.

Venice St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours: 1.5-Hour Tour

9. Venice St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours: 1.5-Hour Tour

Your guide will meet you at St. Mark’s Square for this special after-hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica. With thrilling anecdotes and swashbuckling stories, your guide will tell you about the history of Venice and St. Mark’s. Hear how the Basilica received its precious relics via a 9th-century kidnapping. Passersby will wonder where you are going as a custodian unlocks the Basilica’s doors for you to enter. Inside, take a deep breath as you experience St. Mark’s Basilica as almost no one else has ever been able to, aside from the doge himself. There is no standing elbow-to-elbow with other tourists and no crowd noise. Instead, you are alone with your guide and the custodian. In tranquility and peace, experience the Basilica. You can even go where the others cannot during the day. See the crypt where the bones of St. Mark are said to be kept. Plus, you can see the walls stained by the past floods that devastated Venice. The crypt used to be flooded every time high tide hit the city. The evening is also the best time to visit because it is the time of day that the mosaics are at their most beautiful. All 43,000 square feet are illuminated, glimmering and sparkling in the dark. Your guide is passionate about Venetian art and history. Hear the tale of how St. Mark’s became St. Mark’s, a story that pivots on a kidnapping and a dangerous sea voyage. Learn where the precious marbles decorating St. Mark’s come from in one 1-hour tour.

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

10. Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

Escape the crowds on a late afternoon guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, and discover 2 of the icons of Venice away from the crowds. Meet at the Correr Museum (Museo Correr) in St. Mark's square, under the portico just outside the entrance of the museum. Then, enter the Doge's Palace to learn more about the center of power during the Venetian Republic. See the sumptuous apartments of the Venetian rulers, as well as the Hall of the Great Council with its stunning frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Hear secret stories behind the art, such as why one doge in the painted series is covered by a black veil. Learn how the were dukes were elected, and what they did. Explore the massive armory and spooky prisons. Cross the Bridge of Sighs on the inside, and hear why it is not quite as romantic as you might have thought! After a short break, continue to the Byzantine basilica of St. Mark's, and see its gilt decorations after the crowds have left for the day. A custodian of the cathedral will unlock its doors so that you can experience like only a doge could. Marvel at the gemstones of the Pala d’Oro altarpiece. Visit the crypt, where the bones of St. Mark are said to be kept. Admire mosaics in the soft glimmer of the evening light, and learn about Venetian art and history from your passionate guide.

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What people are saying about Saint Mark's Basilica

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 27,325 reviews

We had a great time on this tour. It was informative, entertaining, and in my opinion, well worth the cost. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to visit St. Marks Basilica and the Doge Palace.

Fantastic tour. Gina our guide was great. Gondola ride also worth doing

Thank you! Skip the line is always a time saver. Would recommend!

Claire was a fantastic guide, knowledgable, funny and passionate.

Guide was very good and explained everything well.