Guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride in Venice - Grand Canal and canals of the centre of Venice
Guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride in Venice: € 92 per person.
The tour starts from Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice, with an itinerary that will take you to some of the most beautiful and hidden areas around San Marco. After touching the Basilica, Palazzo Ducale, the Bell Tower and the Torre dei Mori, the tour will leave the square to reach Campo Santa Maria Formosa and the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, where the marvelous Renaissance façade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco also stands. On the way back, you will pass in front of the Malibran Theater and stroll among the famous Mercerie.
Then an unmissable opportunity to get on an authentic gondola in Venice and leave from San Marco with the magnificent view of the Piazza and the Doge's Palace.
And at the end there will be the guided tour of the Basilica of San Marco with "skip the line" entrance.
Duration of the Guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride in Venice
– 3 hours and 45 minutes.
What includes the Guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride in Venice
The tour includes a guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride along the Grand Canal. It is a shared gondola that can accommodate up to 4 people (+ the gondolier).
– Expert tour guide
– Headphones to better hear the guide
– Skip-the-line entrance to the Basilica
– Guided tour of the upper floor of the Basilica: Museum and Terrace
– Assistance for boarding the gondola
– 35 minute gondola ride
– Comments by the gondolier about history and anecdots.
Available languages of the Guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride in Venice
English, Italian, French, Spanish, German.
Cancellation policy of the Guided walking tour of San Marco, Basilica entrance and gondola ride in Venice
Receive a 100% refund if you cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before the activity starts.
Visit of the Saint Mark's Basilica
Built in the eighth century as a doge's chapel, the Basilica of San Marco today represents evidence of the great colonial expansion of Venice, being largely built with material imported from the eastern colonies.
The relic of San Marco arrives on January 31, 828, stolen by two legendary Venetian merchants and navigators: Rustico da Torcello and Buono da Malamocco.
Its architecture is inspired by the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul. It houses the Pala d'oro, an exquisite example of Byzantine goldsmith's art with thousands of gems and stones.
The main facade is organized on five portals which lead to a narthex; each entrance is surmounted by arched valves with mosaic decorations, of which, however, only the scene of the extreme left portal is from the original Byzantine period. The central entrance was dominated by the famous quadriga of gilded copper horses - now kept in the San Marco Museum - sent from Constantinople to Doge Enrico Dandolo at the time of the Fourth Crusade (1204).
Gondola of Venice
The gondola is the typical boat of Venice which – until the advent of motorboats – was the most suitable and common way to move between the winding canals of the historic center of Venice.
It derives its name from the medieval Greek kondura of boat typical of the Upper Adriatic – similar to the sandolo or the mascareta that can be seen in some paintings by Carpaccio and Bellini – and used in Venice at least since the High Middle Ages.
At the time of the Serenissima, the gondolas of the nobles stood out for the decoration that gave luster to the patrician houses of the city. They often relaxed with the so-called freschi, evening gondola rides through the city’s canals, often accompanied by music.
Nowadays the old custom is intended for tourists who can enter the canals of the old town or the lagoon for a romantic tour of the city, also accompanied by music and songs.
History of the Venitian gondola
The gondola appeared in historical documents only around the 10th century A. D. , but its name states an older origin.
So the kondura in medieval Greek was used to describe a boat typical of the Upper Adriatic – similar to the sandolo or the mascareta that can be seen in some of Bellini’s paintings – and used in Venice at least since the High Middle Ages.
So the kondura was similar to the current gondola but shorter and lower, and without the typical asymmetrical shape of the modern gondola. The bottom was shallow and flat to be able to navigate better in the shallow channels of the bars of the Venetian lagoon.
This brings us back to a much older document that testifies to the navigational abilities of the Venetians, that is, of those populations, who after the invasions of the Visigoths (401) and especially of the Huns of Attila (452), separated from the inland Aeneti and began to live on small islets of the lagoon, building stilts there. Here they moved for centuries on small boats of which there is no evidence but which were certainly – for functional reasons – very similar to the ancient kondura.
This is the document written in 537 AD by Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, Prefect Praetorus of King Ostrogoth Vitige, to the Venetian Maritime Tribunals, in which the Senator asks for the intervention of the Venetian fleet to bring the rich annual production of wine and oil from Istria to Ravenna – capital of the Empire.
"...ubi alternus aestus egrediens modo claudit, modo aperit faciem reciproca inundatione camporum. Hic vobis aquatilium avium more domus est."
Go to the page of the gondola of Venice