Embarking your water taxi at the pier terminal, you will travel a short distance to the Rio de la Frescada canal, crossing a small portion of the Grand Canal along your way. Disembarking your boat, you'll be met by your tour guide and begin your walking tour of some of Venice's hidden treasures.
The first landmark site you will encounter is Scuola Grande Di San Rocco. Construction on this building was completed in 1549 and it was originally set-up as a charitable institute for the sick. The institute was financed largely by donations obtained from local Venetians who believed that St. Roch, the patron saint of contagious diseases, would then save them from the plague. The façade of the building is an interesting mix of various architectural styles and includes an array of precious marble that has come from throughout the Mediterranean area. This stop will be an outside visit only.
Traveling on, you will reach and enter the Chiesa Dei Frari, referred to by all as simply the Frari. Although the exterior of this massive Gothic church that dominates the eastern section of the San Polo district is somewhat austere, the interior is simply amazing. Not only striking for its sheer size, there is a marvelous collection of art work to be found here. This includes masterpieces by Titian and Giovanni Bellini, a statue by Donatello and a number of imposing monuments dedicated to famous Venetians: doges, artists and condottieri.
Your walking tour next takes you through the Campo San Polo and Rialto areas. Considered by most to be the most colorful part of the city, Rialto has always traditionally been the city's commercial quarter where bankers, brokers and merchants conducted their business. Today, the market here continues to sell fresh fish and vegetables from Tuesday through Saturday. It is in this location more than any other in the city that you will truly witness the taste and smell of the real atmosphere that is Venice. From here your tour will cross over the famous Ponte di Rialto where you will almost always find large numbers of people crossing the bridge. It is a favorite spot to browse for souvenirs or merely take in the spectacular views of the Grand Canal that are offered from the bridge's balustrades. Built between 1588 and 1591, the bridge had been the only means of crossing the Grand Canal on foot until the Accademia Bridge was constructed in 1854. Passing over the bridge, you'll arrive at Piazza San Marco where you will have free time before it's time to board your water taxi for the transfer back to the pier.
Please note: There is approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate walking and/or standing, mostly on flat surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Lightweight clothing, hats and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Suitable attire is required to enter churches. Shorts are not permitted and shoulders must be covered. There will only be an external view of the Frari church on Sundays.