7. Venice: Historical Walking Tour and Doge's Palace
After meeting with your professional guide, you will begin your fascinating tour of the most characteristic places in Saint Mark's Square, focusing on the history and architecture of St. Mark's Basilica and the Renaissance-era clock tower. You will leave the square and head to the Castello area, strolling through its labyrinth of narrow alleys, bridges, winding canals, and picturesque squares.
You will see Santa Maria Formosa Square, one of the largest squares in Venice, along with its church, named after its visitation of the Holy Virgin, the Saints Giovanni and Paolo Square (where several dukes doges lie buried in the church). You will also encounter the equestrian monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni, a mercenary captain, as well as the former residence of Marco Polo, probably the most famous Venetian merchant of all time.
After this 1.5-hour walk, you will head to the Doge's Palace, once the seat of power of the Republic of Venice, for a 1-hour guided tour. Once inside the Palace, you can wander the halls where the duke and his council controlled the fate of the Serene Republic, while surrounded by hundreds of artistic masterpieces detailing the political history of Venice and its people. Admire paintings by some of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, including the world's largest oil painting by Tintoretto. You can also pass through the famous Bridge of Sighs, and see the new prison. Your guided tour concludes in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace, however you can linger in the Palace if you like, absorbing the history and mystery of days gone by.