Pala d'Oro

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Pala d'Oro: Our most recommended tours and activities

Saint Mark's Basilica Skip-the-line Ticket and Audio Guide

1. Saint Mark's Basilica Skip-the-line Ticket 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: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

2. 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 your guide by the statue of the winged lion on St. Mark’s Square. 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.

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

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

Avoid the long lines and discover 2 of Venice’s most important treasures on this walking tour. Meet your guide at Doge’s Palace and walk straight past the long lines of tourists. Walk through what used to be the home of the Dukes of Venice and learn more about this symbol of the city from your guide’s detailed commentary as you admire the numerous Renaissance frescoes located in the building.   Continue your visit to St Mark’s Basilica, where you will once again skip the lines of tourists. Admire the church’s famous gold mosaics and listen to your guide as they explain the meaning of each of these mosaics.   Finally, enjoy a 1-hour walking tour of Venice’s most important locations, learning more about its exotic history and transformation throughout the years as you stroll through its picturesque canals.

Venice Must-See Sights: Private Guided Tour

4. Venice Must-See Sights: Private Guided Tour

After meeting your private licensed guide, start with a tour of Venice's famous St. Mark's Square, at the very heart of the city and directly in front of the impressive Basilica of San Marco. Step inside the Basilica to admire its beautiful mosaics, as well as the famous Pala d'Oro altarpiece, decorated with 300 sapphires, 300 emeralds, 15 rubies, 1,300 pearls, and hundreds of other precious stones. Then stop by the nearby Campanile and Clock Tower before continuing on to the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale), an impressive Gothic palace dating back to the 14th century which was transformed into a museum in 1923. From there, take a moment to admire the famous Bridge of Sighs, connecting the palace to the New Prison. During this private guided walk, you'll also see the beautiful spiral staircase of the Palazzo Contarini, along with plenty of the city's charming squares and wonderful views over the Grand Canal. Stop by the Fenice Theatre, the famous Venetian opera house which was destroyed twice by fire and reconstructed both times. The tour ends at the Rialto Bridge, another of the city's most famous landmarks and the perfect spot to take a picture of the iconic scenery.

Classic Venice: 2-Hour Walking Tour with Basilica Entry

5. Classic Venice: 2-Hour Walking Tour with Basilica Entry

Take a walking tour with a professional private guide to explore one of the most celebrated piazzas in the world. St. Mark’s Square is surrounded on 3 sides by magnificent structures such as the 15th-century Clock Tower, the Procuratie Vecchie, Procuratie Nuove and Ala Napoleonica. On the fourth side stands the outstanding St. Mark’s Basilica, with its Clock Tower rising above the open area known as the Mercerie. Your guide will tell you about the history and architectural styles of the Clock Tower, the Bell Tower, the Correr Museum and the Bridge of Sighs. St. Mark’s Bell Tower is the highest structure in Venice. Originally built in the 9th century, it has been rebuilt several times since. It unexpectedly crashed to the ground in 1902 and was rebuilt following the original design, incorporating the ancient bells. The Bridge of Sighs connects the Palazzo delle Prigioni and Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace. It is called the Bridge of Sighs because in times past, convicts were forced to enter prison through this bridge. According to the legend when they had their last glimpse of Venice they would let out a sigh. Visit the interior of St. Mark's Basilica to admire its many treasures, including the Pala d’Oro, the statues, amazing glass and carvings.

Venice: St. Marks Tour with Treasure, Terrace, & Pala d'Oro

6. Venice: St. Marks Tour with Treasure, Terrace, & Pala d'Oro

Your guide will meet you in Saint Mark's square, from where you will walk your way to your skip-the-line entrance at the cathedral. Once inside this Golden Basilica, your guide with explain to you some famous facts about the incredible golden mosaics and the masterpieces of Byzantine arts by which you will be awed. Byzantine art is a unique form of art in Italy, and mosaics are found in the church’s atrium where you’ll have the pleasure to savor beautiful gold mosaics and marble inlays of the floors. As your peruse the works, your guide will show you the represented biblical scenes from the Old Testaments, the history, and the particularities of this ancient basilica. Your guide will also point out a treasury view which is a splendor of religious art from various the centuries. Here you’ll admire the altarpiece of Pala d’Oro, an exquisite example of Byzantine art with its thousands of gems and precious stones. As you feast your eyes with treasures, your guide will narrate the history of this Byzantine artwork and the stories behind it. Later, your guide will escort you to the most interesting parts of the cathedral, to the Museum of St Marks. There you’ll have the opportunity to observe the Bacoòoaas’c ceiling and mosaics up close, and will also have the chance to see the most impressive and magnificent original sculpture of the Horses of St Mark. These gold-plated bronze horses were originally in the Hippodrome of Constantinople, and you will be able to listen to the stories and history of the artwork and of how it was pillaged during the Fourth Crusade.

Venice: Guided Walking Tour with Interactive Video

7. Venice: Guided Walking Tour with Interactive Video

With our interactive map you will be able to move from one point to another in the historic center without time constraints: only you will decide what to see and when. Our private local guide will accompany you, through your smartphone, for the entire tour, providing you with all the curiosities, anecdotes and useful tips to experience the city at its best. You will be able to start your tour at the time you want and choose the monuments of your interest included in the itinerary, moving between stops without ever getting lost thanks to our geolocated directions. Unmissable stops will be the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark's Square, one of the most beautiful places in the world, with the stunning Basilica, the Doge's Palace, home of the doges, the Campanile, from the top of which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of water, the Clock Tower. But if you really want to discover all the wonders of Venice's historic center, choose this unmissable Interactive Tour: art, bridges, canals and gondolas will make your eyes sparkle.

Venice: St. Mark's, Doge's Palace, and Venetian Islands Tour

8. Venice: St. Mark's, Doge's Palace, and Venetian Islands Tour

A spectacular treasure trove of art and culture, the charms of Venice could easily occupy you for a lifetime. Building on our years of experience exploring its atmospheric alleyways and gliding down its iconic canals, we’ve created our special Day in Venice itinerary to offer visitors the perfect introduction to the varied highlights of the floating city. Venice is a city of many faces: on the first half of our tour we’ll explore breathtaking sites that speak to the city’s centuries-long status as one of the world’s most important super-powers, including St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace - twin triumphs of the Maritime Republic that stand spectacular guard over the monumental Grand Canal. The second half of our itinerary offers a complete change of pace as we embark on a thrilling water taxi ride out to three beautiful and unspoiled islands immersed in the Venetian lagoon where artisan crafts and ancient traditions are the order of the day – Murano, Burano and Torcello. The islands conserve another side of Venice’s past and present where time seems to stand still and centuries-old traditions of craftsmanship that have been passed down the centuries live on today. Join us to discover the world’s greatest and most historic centre of artisan glassmaking on Murano, Burano’s gorgeous patchwork of brightly coloured houses and fishermen’s huts, and the mysterious origins of Venetian civilization on isolated Torcello. Visiting the islands in the company of one of our expert local guides and with the comfort of a private water taxi at your disposal, this is the perfect way to experience the marvels of the Venetian lagoon!

Private Experience Venice: Walking City & Boat Tour

9. Private Experience Venice: Walking City & Boat Tour

Walking around this open-air museum, an informative guide will take you to the external sights of Saint Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace, the Sansovino library, the Belltower, the incredible legends of the Clock tower and the Bridge of Sighs and its adjoining prisons. You will discover the extraordinary architectural masterpieces and why they were built that way. You'll be escorted by your private guide during a relaxing 2-hour guided walk away from the main tourist sites and crowds. We make our way through the labyrinth of alleyways towards the famous Opera house La Fenice which burned down and has now been rebuilt to its original glory, then a quiet walk towards Palazzo Fortuny once known as Palace of the Orpheans, we will see the ornate Bovolo spiral staircase (known as ‘of the snail’) tucked away in a tiny courtyard, then onto a view of Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal. Discover the hunch-back of Rialto, Marco Polo’s house, and much more. Take advantage of our expert guides, and learn about the Venetian dialect. Hear the history of this enchanting city from our local guides. Discover the extraordinary architectural masterpieces and why they were built that way, learn how Venice lost out on the trade routes when the New World was discovered, leaving Venice medieval forever. Strolling along the narrow streets, “Calle”, to encounter hidden away treasures. Tour along the Grand Canal of Venice and imagine what the Grand Canal was like when there were still gardens, 'squeri' (where the gondolas were built), warehouses, and stone masons. It is the most spectacular 'high street' in the world. The beautiful palaces were constructed over hundreds of years and slowly the Grand Canal became what it is today. This 60-minute tour includes a cruise along the city's more secluded waterways to enjoy the picturesque small bridges and 'off the beaten track'' sights, to introduce you to a quieter Venice. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Pala d'Oro

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What people are saying about Pala d'Oro

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 11,110 reviews

Very good tour guide with excellent knowledge of German. Detailed information about St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. Best transmission quality of the technical aids. Unfortunately, our tour guide said goodbye too quickly - we couldn't even give her the well-deserved tip.

The skip the line ticket was essential due to the long queues for both the Palace and Basilica. Our guide Federica was charming and very knowledgeable. She also taught us some Italian. Highly recommended

This was a wonderful tour! We enjoyed it very much. Federica was very knowledgeable and an excellent guide. Would recommend as the first thing you do when you get to Venice!

Federica was an awesome guide! Funny and very knowledgeable about the Basilica and Doge's Palace.

It was a very interesting tour. Very professional. Much culture. Just top.