Pala d'Oro

Pala d'Oro: Our most recommended tours and activities

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

1. Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

Delve deep into Venice’s history with a 3-hour guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, either as a private tour or shared group experience. Take in two of the city’s most important landmarks while discovering the history of the one-time mercantile capital of the Mediterranean.  Start by exploring St. Mark's Square with your guide before heading into the cathedral. From the first-floor terrace you’ll be able to admire views across the lagoon and see the famous bronze horses up close. Hear how they traveled all the way to Paris and back in Napoleon’s time. St. Mark's Basilica sometimes closes to visitors without warning. If this happens, visit the Church of San Zaccaria or the Correr Museum instead, depending on availability. Take a tour of the beautifully ornate 15th-century church and its flooded crypt or learn about the art and history of Venice. Next, you’ll use the priority entrance to reach Doge's Palace, formerly the residence of the leader of the Republic of Venice. Enjoy visiting the Chamber of the Great Council and courtrooms among other things. Highlights include frescoes by Tintoretto and the Giants’ Staircase.  After this, cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs that links to the New Prisons. Learn how the bridge got its name and the purpose for its construction in the 17th century as you take in the amazing views of the canals. At the end of your tour, feel free to stay and explore the Doge’s Palace with tips from your guide.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Fast-Track Entry and Audio Guide

2. Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Fast-Track Entry and Audio Guide

Save time during your visit to Venice with a skip-the-line ticket to the popular St. Mark’s Basilica. Admire the hundreds of golden mosaics in the Basilica and learn details about the byzantine art inside with your audio guide. Download your audio guide to your mobile device and head to St. Mark’s Basilica to begin your tour. Breeze past the long lines and put in your headphones. Explore the five-domes and an array of artworks. Hear legends and stories surrounding this church which has stood for almost a 1,000 years.  Witness the dazzling effect of the 43,000 square feet of mosaics in the church. Take in the stunning marble inlay work on the floors. Soak up the atmosphere in the building that dominates St. Mark’s Square. 

Venice: Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour

3. Venice: Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour

See the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica, two of the most iconic sites in Venice, on a guided tour. For centuries, the destiny of the Most Serene Republic was decided in the majestic halls of the Doge’s Palace. Walk through the magnificent halls and marvel at the well-conserved priceless treasures, art masterpieces, and frescos. Visit the prison, passing over the celebrated Bridge of Sighs, so called because prisoners often sighed while looking at their beloved lagoon and freedom for the last time before reaching their cells. Among the famous guests of the Doge’s Palace prisons was Giacomo Casanova, the celebrated seducer and adventurer who managed to escape from the prison in 1756. Next, head to St. Mark’s Basilica, one of the world’s most stunning churches. As the name suggests, this cathedral is bound tightly to Venice’s patron, St. Mark, and the saint's remains are in fact here. Admire the breathtaking golden mosaics covering the high walls, and see the Pala d’Oro, an altarpiece made from hundreds of pieces of enamel on a golden leaf.

Doge Palace and St. Mark's Basilica: Skip-The-Line Tour

4. Doge Palace and St. Mark's Basilica: Skip-The-Line Tour

Discover two of Venice’s most iconic buildings on a guided tour with skip-the-line access to the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. See impressive artworks, marvel at magnificent interiors, and learn about the times where the Doges ruled this famous floating city. Meet your expert guide and enjoy priority access to Doge’s Palace, the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. Immerse yourself in the European Middle Ages and see masterpieces of art adorning the walls of the palace. Relive the anguish of the prisoners that crossed the Bridge of Sighs at the palace and experience the inside of the prison cell that once hosted Giacomo Casanova. Step inside St. Mark's Basilica, a unique cathedral displaying some of the finest examples of Byzantine art in the world. Uncover the biblical symbolism behind the artworks. Take in the beautiful golden mosaics and marble floor inlays. Listen as your guide tells you the history and the special features of this architectural wonder.

Venice Doge's Palace & St Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour

5. Venice Doge's Palace & St Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour

Set off on a guided walking tour of St. Mark’s Square, the Doge's Palace, and St Mark's Basilica with skip-the-line entry. Meet your guide at St. Mark’s Square and head for Doge's Palace, the extraordinary palace that served as the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. Enter the splendid rooms, with hundreds of painted masterpieces. Explore where the Duke and his Council controlled the fate of a 1,000-year republic and admire the details of the medieval gold staircase. See the famous Bridge of Sighs. Enter the notorious Venetian prison that held Giacomo Casanova. Visit St Mark’s Basilica and enjoy a guided tour of this Byzantine masterpiece, with its beautiful gold mosaics and marble floor inlays. See the treasure and the terrace of the Basilica of St.Mark's

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

6. Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

Escape the crowds on a late afternoon guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, and discover 2 of the icons of Venice away from the crowds. Meet at the Correr Museum (Museo Correr) in St. Mark's square, under the portico just outside the entrance of the museum. Then, enter the Doge's Palace to learn more about the center of power during the Venetian Republic. See the sumptuous apartments of the Venetian rulers, as well as the Hall of the Great Council with its stunning frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Hear secret stories behind the art, such as why one doge in the painted series is covered by a black veil. Learn how the were dukes were elected, and what they did. Explore the massive armory and spooky prisons. Cross the Bridge of Sighs on the inside, and hear why it is not quite as romantic as you might have thought! After a short break, continue to the Byzantine basilica of St. Mark's, and see its gilt decorations after the crowds have left for the day. A custodian of the cathedral will unlock its doors so that you can experience like only a doge could. Marvel at the gemstones of the Pala d’Oro altarpiece. Visit the crypt, where the bones of St. Mark are said to be kept. Admire mosaics in the soft glimmer of the evening light, and learn about Venetian art and history from your passionate guide.

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace & Doge’s Palace

7. Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica with Terrace & Doge’s Palace

Immerse yourself in the history of Venice on a tour of the once-great maritime empire. Explore 2 of the floating city’s most important buildings: St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace. Meet your guide in St. Mark’s Square, and step inside St. Mark’s Basilica. Get an in-depth look at how Venice built a mercantile empire that once spanned the entire Mediterranean. Marvel at the priceless treasures within and enjoy special access to the 1st-floor terrace, where you can see the famous horses stolen from Constantinople during the 4th Crusade. Skip the lines to the Doge’s Palace, and explore the political heart of the Venetian Empire. Admire the opulent apartments and Hall of the Great Council where laws were made under the stunning frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Tour the armory and prisons to learn how grim life was for anyone unlucky enough to be taken prisoner. Discover the secret behind the mysterious black veil and walk across the Bridge of Sighs.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour

8. Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour

Discover Saint Mark's Square and the Golden Basilica on a tour with an expert guide. Learn about the history of the square, which was once the private chapel of the Doge of Venice. Admire its sumptuous golden mosaics and impressive marble inlay flooring, making it one-of-a-kind in Italy. Take in the historical ambiance and listen to your guide as they describe the biblical scenes represented throughout the building, together with history and particularities of this ancient Basilica. Visit Saint Mark's Basilica first floor museum and see the famous horses and admire Saint Mark's Square from the Basilica's terrace.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Visit & Terrace Access

9. Venice: St. Mark's Basilica Guided Visit & Terrace Access

See the highlights of St Mark's Basilica with a local guide, including its museum, mosaics, and masterpieces. Marvel at the views of St Mark's Square from the basilica. Meet your guide near the famous Piazza San Marco and head straight to visit St Mark’s Basilica. As soon as you enter the atrium, admire the ceiling and see a glittering expanse of golden mosaics that will lead you to the interior of the church.  Discover masterpieces from the past such as the famous golden domes, the iconostasis, the ciborium, the main altar housing the tomb of St. Mark the Evangelist, and other wonders. Then, climb a steep but fascinating staircase to the 1st floor which houses the Museum of St Mark. Here, see the wonderful inside of St Mark's Basilica from above.  Next, reach the St Mark’s Basilica terrace where, in the shadow of the famous 4 bronze horse statue (a copy), experience one of the most beautiful views of St Mark’s Square. Finally, visit the original horse statue that once stood on the upper part of the church facade.  At the end of the tour you can stay longer in St Mark’s Basilica Museum to explore at your leisure – the entrance ticket is included in the tour. Alternatively, admire the splendid panorama of the Piazza from the Basilica’s terrace once more or return to the ground floor to explore at your own pace.

Saint Mark's and Doge's Palace: VIP After Hours Tour

10. Saint Mark's and Doge's Palace: VIP After Hours Tour

Enjoy exclusive, after-hours access into one of the most prestigious landmarks of Venice, the incredible Saint Mark's Basilica, preceded by a thorough and enchanted tour of the Doge's Palace, all in a semi-private group. Meet your guide in one of Italy’s most famous piazzas – St Mark’s Square – noted for its charming, Italian-Gothic beauty, just off the shores of the canal. Head to the Doge’s Palace and learn about the amazing color-changing facade of the Doge’s Palace and why it changes color from day to night. Go to the famous Bridge of Sighs, the last sight for prisoners on their march towards imprisonment. Make your way to Saint Mark's Basilica, the gates of which will have already closed for all other visitors, but will reopen exclusively for you. Admire the Pala D’oro ancient altarpiece up close, an act that is seemingly impossible during hurried daytime crowds. See the crypts where noble Venetians have been laid to rest. Be completely alone in the basilica for the portion of your tour – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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What people are saying about Pala d'Oro

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 14,423 reviews

Great opportunity to visit this most beautiful of all Venetian cultural assets, bypassing the queues - not cheap, but valuable ;-)

Very nice visit, with the ticket purchased online: no queue Otherwise about 1h30 wait The autoguide is great for the visit

A quick and easy way to get into the basilica and have an audio tour. Don’t forget to bring your phone’s earbuds though!

Please note that tickets are no longer collected at the kiosk near the post office.

I had my doubts but in the end everything went well, recommended