Discover the secrets of this exquisite lagoon city, miraculously built upon the water... Kissed by the waters of the northern Adriatic, the city of Venice is a jigsaw of low islands, morning mists and elegant winding water corridors. We lift the Venetian mask to reveal the hidden offices and documents of the Doge’s Palace, explore St Mark’s Basilica in private at twilight, and ascend the bell tower of Torcello for a very special view out over the lagoon. Of course, the exclusivity doesn’t stop at the sites — enjoy five nights in a luxurious Venetian hotel, take a special boat trip on the Grand Canal, and let us lift the lid on a sumptuous Michelin-starred restaurant. Should you wish, we can arrange your theatre or opera tickets for an extra special evening.
- Private evening visit to the greatest Byzantine church in the west, St. Mark’s Basilica
- An opportunity to explore the byways of one of Europe’s most evocative cities
- Follow in the footsteps of the Doge in a special secret tour of the Doge’s Palace
We arrive at our destination. Before transferring to Venice, we visit Altinum. It is a small Roman city on the mainland, important as it is one of the original parts of Venice itself. It was destroyed by Atilla the Hun in 452 AD, and the inhabitants, along with others, fled to the lagoon.
We travel by vaporetto across the lagoon to the island of Torcello, first settlement of Venice. We explore the 7th century cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the lagoon’s oldest building, with its fine Paleo Christian mosaics. The Archaeological Museum of the lagoon contains many of the finds from recent excavations. We also take the opportunity to view the distinctive Venetian environment from the bell tower of the island. We continue to the important medieval island of Murano, home to the Venetian glass trade.
We take a special tour of the glass factory at Murano. Their products have been in demand for centuries in the Mediterranean and beyond.
We enjoy a day exploring St Mark’s Square, the city’s only substantial Piazza. The seemingly endless arcades of the square hide a plethora of secrets. We also explore the seat of power of the Venetian Republic at the Doge’s Palace.
We take the special ‘secret itinerary’ which winds us through the back rooms, prisons and hidden offices of the Doge’s State.
Afterwards, we continue to the Archaeological Museum, with its eclectic collections gathered from all over the Venetian dominions. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore further.
We end the day with a special private evening visit to St. Mark’s basilica.
We walk and take a vaporetto through Venice to the grand church of San Giorgio Maggiore, the classic building designed by Andrea Palladio as a mighty punctuation mark on the city’s waterfront. We ascend its campanile to savour the panorama of this fantasy on the water. The churches of the religious orders include the massive Frari church, which took over a century to complete, and SS Giovanni e Paulo, a Dominican church built in brick to the latest Gothic designs of the 14th century. We also visit the parish churches open to a cross-section of Venetian society.
We enjoy dinner at a specially chosen Michelin-starred restaurant.
Today we take a walking tour of the city, considering its principal bridges — especially the famous Rialto. We explore the distinctive zone of Castello, location of the Arsenale, the mailed fist of Venice’s maritime power. We wind our way through the Venetian calle out to the former Cathedral of the city at San Pietro di Castello, a mannerist fantasy prepared to a revised design of Andrea Palladio. Our day ends with a boat trip along the Grand Canal itself..
We return home today.
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included - dinners with wine
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotels - 5 nights overlooking the Venice Lagoon. A mere 200 yards from the famous St Mark’s Square, our hotel is well situated in the historical centre of Venice and also offers a rooftop restaurant from which you can view the Grand Canal.
- Flights - Scheduled return flights from London to Venice
5 nights overlooking the Venice Lagoon. A mere 200 yards from the famous St Mark’s Square, our hotel is well situated in the historical centre of Venice and also offers a rooftop restaurant from which you can view the Grand Canal.
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