Your guide meets you at St. Mark’s Square. Through thrilling anecdotes and swash-buckling stories, learn about the history of Venice and St. Mark’s Basilica—like how it received its precious relics via a 9th-century kidnapping! But then comes the real treat. All of the passersby will wonder where you’re going as a custodian unlocks the basilica’s doors for you and Walks of Italy’s small groups of maximum 15 clients… And walks you right in. Inside, take a deep breath.
You’re experiencing St. Mark’s Basilica as almost nobody else does, or ever has ever been able to (aside from the Doge himself)—empty! No standing elbow-to-elbow with other tourists, no seeing the church as if through a strobe light from hundreds of popping flashbulbs, no noise from the crowds. In-stead, you’re alone with your guide and the custodian.
So you can experience the ba-silica as it should be experienced: in tranquility and peace.
Of course, you’ll also be able to skip all the lines—not only into the basilica, but also to see the Pala d’Oro, the spectacular, Byzantine altarpiece that uses more than 1,900 gems! During the day, there’s a line to see this, but now?
You have it almost all to yourself. Since you’re alone in the basilica with Walks of Italy groups only, you can even go where others, visiting during the day, can’t. Like the crypt, which the custodian un-locks for you: This is where the bones of St. Mark are said to actually be kept.
Plus, you can see the stained walls here from the past floods that have devastated Ven-ice—the crypt used to be flooded every time the high tide hit the city! Aside from the emptiness of the basilica, nighttime is the best time to visit because that’s when the mosaics are at their most beautiful.
All 43,000 square feet are lit up, glimmering and sparkling in the dark! If just seeing the basilica this way weren’t entrancing enough, there’s also your guide, an expert who’s passionate about Venetian art and history—and about shar-ing it with you in the most fun way possible.
You’ll hear the tale of how St. Mark’s became St. Mark’s, a story that pivots on a kidnapping and and a dangerous sea voy-age! You’ll learn where the precious marbles decorating St. Mark’s really come from… A one-hour tour that will give you memories which will last a lifetime!
Please remember that the basilica is a holy place and attire must be appropriate: Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. Walks of Italy cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to im-proper dress. Backpacks are prohibited inside of St. Mark’s Basilica. This tour runs rain or shine.
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