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Venice Culture & history

Our most recommended Venice Culture & history

Venice: Murano, Burano, Torcello Island & Glass Factory Tour

1. Venice: Murano, Burano, Torcello Island & Glass Factory Tour

Sail across the emerald waters of the Venice lagoon on this full day trip to the islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello. Choose from an option with a shuttle transfer from S. Lucia Train Station to the departure point in San Marco or pick a tour option that meets in San Marco.  Hop aboard a comfortable water taxi in the morning and glide through the Lagoon of Venice. Admire views from the boat's panoramic terrace and listen to commentary from your guide.  Upon arrival at your first stop, Murano, find out why the island is renowned for its glassworks with a visit to a local glass factory. Watch a skilled artisan during a glass processing demonstration. Afterward, have approximately an hour on the island for shopping in one of the many glass shops. Next, head for Burano, which is known for its lacework and brightly colored houses. Follow your guide to the heart of the town and have 2 hours of free time to purchase a nice lunch, typical Venetian aperitifs, or get an ice cream at one of the many cafes.  Venture from Burano to Torcello, the first center of civilization in the estuary. Spend an hour of free time where you can go to see the Venetian-Byzantine mosaics at the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta. Return to San Marco in the early evening. 

Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket

2. Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket

Visit the Doge's Palace, an important historic landmark that served as the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. Skip the ticket line with to explore the seat of a 1,000-year republic, you’ll travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Marvel at the rich details of the magnificent gold staircase and spectacular works of art. Relive the anguish of the prisoners as they crossed the famous Bridge of Sighs. 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.

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

3. 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. 

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

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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: Traveling Opera in a Historic Palace on Grand Canal

8. Venice: Traveling Opera in a Historic Palace on Grand Canal

Experience Italian Opera in one of the most important Venetian-Gothic style palaces in Venice, Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto. Within this historical venue, an innovative approach to opera has been conceived, with a formula that focuses on the interaction between the singers, the musicians, and the audience. This gives spectators the feeling of living Opera ‘from the inside’. This sensation is amplified by the clever 360-degree use of the ‘stage’ and by having the guests move through 3 different rooms within the Palazzo, one for each act of the show. The whole setting changes, not just the background. Reviving a tradition dating back to the late 1800s, this reimagining is brought to life by some of the finest lyrical voices, accompanied by a talented small group of strings and a piano: a virtuoso ensemble who performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world.

Venice: Four Seasons Concert Ticket at Vivaldi Church

9. Venice: Four Seasons Concert Ticket at Vivaldi Church

Delight your ears with a performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons by the "I Virtuosi Italiani" ensemble in the church of Santa Maria della Visitazione in Venice. It was here that Antonio Vivaldi spent forty years of his life and composed his magnificent works.  Enjoy inspired performances of the Four Seasons where in the music you can sense the reaping of the wheat, the grape harvest, the summer storms, the snow falling in winter, the warm fall colors, and the bright blossoming of flowers in springtime. Watch talented musicians play in the church where masters like Francesco Gasparini and Antonio Vivaldi trained the Daughters of the Choro to become virtuoso musicians that were renowned for their art all over Europe.

Venice: Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket with Guidebook

10. Venice: Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Ticket with Guidebook

Save precious time and skip the long lines to the former seat of power in Venice. Enjoy fast track entry to the magnificent Doge's Palace and wander around the amazing halls and corridors at your own pace. Cross the Bridge of Sighs from the inside to reach the prisons where criminals were kept, including Casanova! Use the handy guide book, provided in your chosen language, to learn the history of the palace and its masterpieces of art. Continue to the nearby Museo Correr to explore the way of life of the locals of Venice through the centuries on the upper floors of the Procuratorie Nuove. Create your own adventure and use the 8 suggested itineraries in the guide book to discover the different palaces of St. Mark’s Square. See sculptures, paintings and libraries that reveal the true might of the city's naval history.

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Frequently asked questions about Venice

What top attractions are a must-see in Venice?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Venice?

The best day trips and excursions from Venice are:

Murano

Other Sightseeing Options in Venice

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What people are saying about Venice

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 15,659 reviews

Isabel was a great guide with clear instructions and information for when to get to the boat. We loved having free time and not having to wait in line for the water buses from the different islands.

amazing performance. so up close and personal. fantastic event! easy to get to.

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

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

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