Depart the terminal by private motor launch to reach St. Mark's basin. Along the way, your tour will pass between "Zattere" and the island of "Giudecca" which derives its name because it was the location of the first Jewish colony in Italy.
Zattere is the location of the Church of Gesuati, best known for several 'paintings of special interest' by the renowned artist, Tiepolo, while on the island of Giudecca. Zattere is also the location the Church of the Redentore (Christ the Redeemer) which was built in the 16th century by the famous architect Palladio as a votive temple after the end of the 1576 plague.
Once ashore and after a short walk, you'll reach St. Mark's Square, which was the political and religious center of the city during the period of the Serenissima Republic. Your first visit is at the Doges Palace (private residence of the Doge, seat of Government and Court of Justice). On the first floor were the offices while the second floor contained four large meeting rooms for the members of government as well as the private apartment of the Doge. On the third floor were the great assembly halls. The original palace was built in Byzantine-style in the 9th century, however the palace has been repeatedly destroyed by fires throughout the centuries. It was last rebuilt in the 14th century, in Gothic style.
Your guide will also tell you about the foundation of Venice, from the Attila invasion (obliging Veneto people to take refuge amongst the islands of the lagoon in the 5th century) up to the year 1797, when last Doge Ludovico Manin handed over power to the French. You will also be accompanied by your guide as you walk throughout the beautiful rooms with fantastic ceiling decorations and well-known paintings by Titian, Tiepolo, Tintoretto, Carpaccio and Veronese. At the end of the visit, from the Hall of Magistrature you will pass over the Bridge of Sighs, a covered passage extending over the canal between the palace and the ancient prison.
The next segment of your tour takes you to the Cathedral of St. Mark; built on the plan of a Greek Cross to house the body of St. Mark, which had been smuggled out of Alexandria. The facades show traces of different architectural styles and on the main facade you can see the Four Horses, which were taken in Byzantium in 1204. At the end of the visit, you will enjoy a 40-minute gondola ride throughout parts of the Grand Canal and narrow canals around the St. Mark's area.
The tour concludes with a private motor launch return visit to the ship.
Please note: This tour involves approximately 2-hours of extensive walking and standing. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear proper attire for an interior visit to the Church (no interior visits are permitted on Sundays due to services being held), and are further encouraged to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees. Guests are encouraged not to bring excessive or large bags with them, in order to avoid having to have the bags searched by the security at the Doges' Palace and Cathedral. The gondola ride is subject to favorable and cooperative weather, and thus subject to last-minute cancellation. In this event, an hour of leisure will be substituted. The seating on the gondola is based on a maximum of 6 people and on some gondolas, 2 seats may be on benches one in front of the other.