Are you heading to Venice, Italy soon? Or do you only have one to two days in Venice and want to get the main sights in? Than a Venice walking tour might be right up your alley!
My husband and I have always had an interest in learning the history behind a city that we travel to, especially one like Venice. Venice has so much rich history and culture that sometimes it is impossible to see all of it on your own, especially with just a guide book. The Hidden Venice Express tour with The Roman Guy was definitely one of the highlights of our time in Venice. It allowed us to see some of the main sights of Venice all while learning so many neat historical facts about each spot we visited.
The tour started at 9:30 AM in St. Marks square facing the canal and ended with a gondola ride! It seriously was the best and most interesting way to end a tour, and not to mention a total bucket list moment. I really enjoyed an early start to the tour before the summer heat of Venice set in. The tour lasted about 2 hours in total, ending right before lunch. Claire, our tour guide, was also such a great help when giving recommendations for the best lunch spots near St. Marks square and the Rialto bridge.
Before I go over all of the stops and highlights of the tour, I wanted to mention how knowledgable and enthusiastic our guide Claire was. She provided us with a variety of interesting and important information on each monument that we visited. I feel like through Claire, I learned much more about Venice than I ever could have on my own. She did a very good job in keeping the tour interesting and providing humor along the way.
All of the Stops:
St. Marks Square and Cathedral
Our first stop started with the St. Marks Square and the St. Marks Cathedral. Did you know that the St. Marks Cathedral was built in the 10th century? Also did you know that St. Marks is one of the most unique Roman Catholic Cathedrals in the world? Unlike other Roman Catholic Cathedrals, St. Marks has a lot of Byzantine and Middle Eastern influences as far as architecture is concerned. The name St. Marks stems from the Apostle St. Mark, who is allegedly buried in the Cathedral. I say allegedly because there is a lot more to that story, but if you take a tour with the Roman Guy than you will learn the interesting history of this main Basilica in Venice. The tour also includes going inside of the Cathedral in which the guide explains the stunning architectural achievements.
Rialto Bridge and Surrounding Areas
Our second stop included the Rialto bridge and the Grand Canal. What I really loved about this Hidden Venice tour is how we casually walked through the hidden alleys and streets in Venice, all while learning interesting components of the street names and house numbers. We stopped through each main square along the way, discussing the significance of the statues in the center. We even stopped by a quaint store that sold the famous Venetian face masks and we learned the significance of certain masks. The owner of the store was actually in the process of making masks and painting them as we were standing outside.
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. It is also home to the fish market and where the original Venice was first settled. The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal is definitely my favorite, even if it is such a bustling area of Venice. Claire took us around the Rialto bridge and showed us the best spots to take a photo of the bridge, all while explaining the history of the area.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Our third stop took us to the Scala Contarini del Bovolo hidden near St. Marks square and the Rialto bridge. There are a lot of tourists who actually have never heard of this tower since it is hidden away through some narrow streets. It really is a hidden gem that I am so glad our guide took us to. The Scala Contarini del Bovolo was built by a noble family in the 15th century and is known for its “snail” like appearance. The view from the top of the tower is just beautiful of Venice, you can even see St. Marks Cathedral! The tour does not include going up to the top of the tower, but my husband and I came right back after the tour ended and made our way up!
After our walk to the Scala Contarini del Bovolo we made our way to our gondola ride. I have been dreaming of a gondola ride for as long as I can remember so I was literally jumping for joy when we made our way for our wonderful treat. The gondola ride lasted about 30 minutes and took us through several small canals and to the Grand Canal, which was my favorite portion of the ride.
Over all we had a wonderful time on the tour especially since it was a small group with just 7 other members. I felt that the small group experience was much more fulfilling as we were able to get the full attention of our guide. As mentioned before, our guide Claire shared very useful and interesting information with us each step of the way.
If you are in Venice and looking to learn a little more about this stunning Italian city, find some hidden treasures, check off a gondola ride from your bucket list, than this is the tour for you. Make sure and check out The Roman Guy for a wonderful tour experience.