Special Tours in Venice

Sophisticated Italy proposes the following half or full-day tours in this fascinating city between sea and sky.

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A TASTE OF VENICE (FULL DAY)

This program has been designed by Sophisticated Italy to provide first-time visitors to Venice, as well as cruise excursionists, a spectacular “taste” of the wonders of the Serenissima Republic. The tour starts at 9 a.m., with our special professional English-speaking guide, with a private introductory walking tour of the city’s highlights—Saint Mark’s Square and the Basilica with its golden mosaics, the Doge’s Palace with its masterworks by Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto, and the Bridge of Sighs. This introductory walk continues, through Venice’s narrow “calles” and arriving at the Rialto Bridge, built in 1580, and finishes at the central market area with its open-air fish and fruit/vegetable market. At 11 a.m., the visitors will be picked up by a private motor launch and an English-speaking hostess for a tour of the Grand Canal—with its magnificent architectural jewels and palaces—from the Ca’ Rezzonico to the Ca’ d’Oro, the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Guggenheim Collection, the Palazzo Grassi and the Venice Casino. The entire history of this magnificent city from one’s own private motor yacht!
Finishing this tour, the clients will be taken through the Venetian lagoon to the island of Murano—and a tour of this island made world famous for its precious glass. They will be taken into a special (non-touristy) factory to see how Murano glass is made.
The private boat will return to Venice. With a panoramic tour of the Lagoon—passing the Arsenale, the Lido, the Biennale area and the San Pietro di Castello church. At this point, the clients will be escorted for a fabulous lunch at a very special restaurant where the warm and hospitable owners will ensure a memorable meal and a fitting end to an incredible day.

DISCOVER VENICE (4 hours)

Discover Venice by visiting the main highlights of this fascinating city. Begin at Saint Mark’s Square, the former political center of the Venetian Republic, including a peek inside Saint Mark’s Basilica. Stroll the passageways of Venice and discover urban development including a visit to the busy central area of Rialto.

VENICE’S HIGHLIGHTS (4 hours)

Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Prisons
A must for any visitor to Venice—Saint Mark’s Basilica with its golden mosaics and its marble floor introduces the visitor to Venice’s intrinsic links to Constantinople. A visit to the Doge’s Palace, seat of Venetian power for 900 years, then across the famous Bridge of Sighs to the Prisons and then one last view at the Giants’s staircase.

“Ombre e Cichetti” Tour in Venice (3 hours)

A popular pre-lunch and pre-dinner ritual among the locals, “Ombre e Cichetti” refer to small glasses of local wine that accompany Venetian tapas-style specialties which are served up in the dozens of traditional baccari that dot the city of Venice. Guests will begin their tour at 5:00 p.m. with a stop in a local wine shop, where you will learn about some of the finest wines of the region. The tour continues with visits to several of Venice’s baccari, where guests can sample an ombra (as well as the Veneto’s famous prosecco, a light sparkling wine or a Spritz, the local population’s aperitif of choice) and choose from among a wide variety of delicious, artfully prepared cichetti. Guests will wind their way through two of Venice’s most interesting neighborhoods, the area around the bustling Rialto Market, where the tradition of “ombre e cichetti” is rooted, and the more laid back and residential Cannaregio, to get a taste both of where this tradition began hundreds of years ago and how it continues to thrive among Venetians today. The “Ombre e Cichetti” Tour is ideal for those who are looking for a gastronomical experience as unique and special as the city of Venice itself.

FROM GOTHIC TO THE RENAISSANCE (4 hours)

Explore Venice’s architectural development between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth centuries. The highlights of this pleasant architectural walk include San Zaccaria, Santi Giovanni e Paolo, the Colleoni Monument and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

500 YEARS OF VENETIAN PAINTING (4 hours)

Visit the world famous Gallerie dell’Accademia, featuring Venetian paintings from the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries, including masterpieces by Bellini, Giorgione, Carpaccio, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Veronese and Tiepolo.

ARCHITECTURE THROUGH THE AGES: FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO NEOCLASSICISM (4 hours)

A survey of three Venetian masters whose creations characterize the Venetian skyline: the Church of St. George the Great (on the island of the same name), designed by Palladio; the huge Salute Basilica, the most innovative and ambitious jewel of the Venetian Baroque, and along the Zattere, the eighteenth-century Santa Maria dei Gesuati by Giorgio Massari.

A VENETIAN PALAZZO: CA’ REZZONICO AND THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY (4 hours)

Visit one of the most flamboyant residences on the Grand Canal, inviting the visitor to relive the splendors of one of Venice’s great patrician families.
Designed by Baldassare Longhena and completed for the Rezzonicos by Giorgio Massari (who added a ballroom to the original plans), the Palazzo—where Robert Browning lived and died—has frescoed ceilings by Tiepolo, original eighteenth-century furniture, glass chandeliers and ceramics plus the only outstanding Canalettoes in Venice.

PALLADIO’S VENICE (4 hours)

Walking in the footsteps of Goethe and Indigo Jones, lovers of classical art and architecture will see the following major works of Andrea Palladio: San Giorgio Maggiore, the monastery island facing Saint Mark’s Square and the majestic Church of the Redentore on the Island of Giudecca.

THE GUGGENHEIM IN VENICE (4 hours)

Peggy Guggenheim’s Palazzo on the Grand Canal now houses her world-famous collection of modern masterpieces. A great American museum with a very special Venetian flavor.

DISCOVER DORSODURO (4 hours)

A tour of the Dorsoduro district, Venice’s “Rive Gauche” lined with open-air cafes. Visit the former fishing village of San Nicolo dei Mendicoli, with stops at the Church of San Sebastiano, entirely decorated in frescoes and paintings by Paolo Veronese ending along the sunny promenade Giudecca Canal.

THE JEWISH GHETTO (2 hours)

An in-depth tour of the original Jewish Ghetto—its museum, its magnificent Synagogues, monuments and on-going Jewish life.

GRAND CANAL AT SUNSET (2 hours)

Take a private boat ride down the Grand Canal and marvel at the views of Venice, which have inspired so many artists. End this perfect evening at one of the local wine bars.

VENETIAN LIFESTYLE AND FASHION (4 hours)

This tour into the past begins with Ca’ Morcenigo, an eighteenth-century palace with a well preserved collection of Venetian clothes, fabrics, furnishings etc. Then on to one of the very few artisan studios still weaving velvets and brocades on the original looms. Finally, a discovery tour of the mask-making artisans that have made the Carnival in Venice famous worldwide.

IN THE TRACKS OF POETRY (4 hours)

A walk through literary Venice—with passages from the works of writers who created the poetical myth of Venice. Proust, Lord Byron, Henry James, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway and others. Words come to life!

MURANO GLASS TOUR (3 hours)

For 800 years, the tiny island of Murano has been renowned for its art of glassmaking, from tableware to chandeliers to jewelry. Many independent glass artists still thrive on this island and this tour will provide a visit to their workshops.