Are you heading to Venice, Italy, soon? Or do you only have one to two days in Venice and want to get to the main sights? Then a Venice walking tour might be right up your alley!

My husband and I have always been interested in learning the history behind a city we travel to, especially one like Venice. Venice has such rich history and culture that sometimes it is impossible to see all of it on your own, especially with just a guidebook. The Hidden Venice Express tour with The Roman Guy was 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 was the best and most exciting way to end a tour, not to mention a real bucket list moment. I enjoyed an early tour start before the summer heat of Venice set in. The time lasted about 2 hours in total, ending right before lunch. Our tour guide, Claire, was also a great help in recommending 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 knowledgeable and enthusiastic our guide, Claire, was. She provided us with exciting and essential information on each monument we visited. I feel like, through Claire; I learned much more about Venice than I ever could have. She did an excellent job of keeping the tour exciting and providing humor along the way.

All of the Stops:

St. Marks Square and Cathedral

Our first stop started with 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 St. Marks is one of the world’s unique Roman Catholic Cathedrals? Unlike other Roman Catholic Cathedrals, St. Marks has many Byzantine and Middle Eastern influences as far as architecture is concerned. The name St. Marks stems from the Apostle St. Mark, 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, you will learn the exciting history of this central Basilica in Venice. The time also includes going inside the Cathedral, where 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 loved about this Hidden Venice tour was how we casually walked through the hidden alleys and streets in Venice, all while learning exciting 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 importance of certain acts. 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 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 area’s history.

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 have never heard of this tower since it is hidden away through some narrow streets. It 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 as Venice; you can even see St. Marks Cathedral! The tour does not include going up to the top of the building, but my husband and I came right back after the time ended and made our way up!

Gondola Ride

After we walked 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 jumped 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.

Overall we had a wonderful time on the tour, especially since it was a small group with just seven other members. I felt that the small group experience was much more fulfilling as we got our guide’s full attention. As mentioned before, our guide, Claire, shared beneficial and enjoyable 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, or check off a gondola ride from your bucket list, this is the tour for you. Make sure and check out The Roman Guy for a wonderful tour experience.

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