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Santa Maria Formosa

Santa Maria Formosa: Our most recommended tours and activities

Venice: Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line Basilica Ticket

1. Venice: Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line Basilica Ticket

Take part in this small-group tour of Venice to see the best tourist spots and hidden gems. See the Bell Tower and Clock Tower, St. Mark's Square, and get an in-depth tour of St. Mark’s Basilica. Start your tour by strolling through St. Mark’s Square, equipped with complimentary headphones so that you can follow every word of your local guide. Listen as your guide discusses the major monuments including Doge's Palace, Bridge of Sighs, the Bell Tower, and the Clock Tower. Head into St. Marks Basilica for a special tour. Walk through the famous church as your guide describes the history of the church and shows you the intricate mosaics and Byzantine architecture. Afterward, leave St. Mark's Square behind to admire a very different Venice. Visit Santa Maria Formosa, Calle Paradiso, Castello district, and areas known only to the locals.  Explore a world of narrow alleyways and meandering canals, punctuated by delicate bridges, and hidden architectural gems.  Hear stories about the Venetians who created this city from nothing.

Venice: Private Ghost Tour and Gondola Ride

2. Venice: Private Ghost Tour and Gondola Ride

Venture into the darker side of Venice on a private ghost tour after dark, and hear stories from its bloody past as you creep down dank alleys that still fire the imagination. Meet your guide in the shadows of the church of San Giacomo di Rialto, before walking to the Rialto Bridge. They will take you through a mass of spooky alleys, telling of the spirits that lurk in hidden doorways along the way. Learn about the ghosts of the Campo della Fava. Go to Marco Polo’s house and hear about his Chinese wife. Visit San Gallo, site of one of the most terrible murders in the history of the city, and where the famous sculptor Antonio Canova died. If that’s not enough to get your heart racing, take a 30-minute gondola ride through the network of silent canals. Keep your nerve as the only noise you hope to hear will be the sound of paddles touching water… Your guide will continue to spook you as you sail under the Bridge of Sighs, where captured criminals took their final walk. Cruise into the Campiello Querini, and see the Bell Tower in Santa Maria Formosa, designed to scare off the Devil. End at Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where the ghost of the Doge continues to haunt the city to this day!

Venice Walking Tour: Power of the Republic

3. Venice Walking Tour: Power of the Republic

Learn the 1,000-year history of the Republic of Venice – traditionally known as La Serenissima – from the 8th to 18th centuries, and see all the main monuments on a guided walking tour. Admire the Renaissance church of Santa Maria Formosa and hear fascinating stories about the Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, where 25 of the doges of Venice were laid to rest. Hear about the role of the Great School of Charity and Captains of Fortune, see the house where Marco Polo lived and pass the historic Teatro Malibran. Return to Piazza San Marco via the Mercerie between the Rialto and San Marco districts. Enter the Doge's Palace to explore the seat of political power during the republic and see masterpieces of art in the splendid rooms. Marvel at the gold staircase and cross the Bridge of Sighs from the inside. End with an optional visit to a glass furnace.

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

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

Discover the unparalleled beauty of the floating city of Venice with an early entrance to Doge's Palace, fast-track access to St Mark's Basilica, and a guided walking tour to Rialto Bridge. Go back in history and marvel at the creativity and sophistication of the Venetians. Get the privilege of a priority entry to Doge's Palace before the normal public. Appreciate the magnificent works of art adorning the walls of this Venetian Gothic Architectural masterpiece. Then, cross the Bridge of Sighs that connects the palace to the prisons. Next, gain skip-the-line access to St Mark’s Basilica and bask in the beauty of one of the best-known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture in the world. Get access to its rooftop to enjoy panoramic views of Venice from the top. After your visit, continue to the historical St Mark’s Square as your guide shares stories behind all the monuments that surround the gorgeous square including St Mark’s Clock Tower, St Mark’s Campanile, Correr Museum, and the Marciana National Library. Then, follow your guide on a walking tour through the narrow alleyways and bridges of Venice. Pass by iconic monuments such as the Square of Santa Maria Formosa, Square of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, The Courtyard of Million, and Square of San Borrtolomio. Finally reach the true heart of Venice, the Rialto Bridge, which crosses the Grand Canal in the midst of the town's main shopping area. Experience the hustle and bustle of the shops and feel free to indulge in some shopping or savor Venetian delicacies at the surrounding cafes and restaurants.

Byzantine Venice: Walking Tour & Gondola Ride

5. Byzantine Venice: Walking Tour & Gondola Ride

Travel to the heart of Venice and its Byzantine art heritage with a combination of three tours. Discover the enchanting side of Venice through a morning walk, its Byzantine heritage through the St Mark's Basilica, and its deepest side through a romantic gondola ride. Go to the enchanting Venice made up of countless bridges, channels, and "campo" (little squares), the pulsing heart of a water city. Follow your experienced tour guide and learn more about Venice, it's past, and interesting facts about life in a city built on water. Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Campo, and Church SS. Giovanni e Paolo, and the Mercerie, are only some of the highlights which you will admire. Let yourself admire Venice from a unique perspective: the water. In an eye glimpse, it will be like being projected into another world, away from the crowded alleys of the historical center and ready to discover a deeper side of Venice. Discover not only one of Venice's most famous sites and symbols but also one of the world's most beautiful and breathtaking cathedrals: The St Mark's Basilica. Immerse yourself in the majestic interiors of the Basilica, learn more about Venice's history and in particular about its patron saint, St Mark.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Santa Maria Formosa

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What people are saying about Santa Maria Formosa

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,059 reviews

Our guide really knew her stuff and conveyed the information in an engaging way. She also gave us tips to help make the most of the rest of our trip. I'd recommend this tour as being good value and a great way to start exoring Venice (we did it on our first morning).

It was a very sweet and knowledgeable guide who took us through St. Mark's Square, the church and out into the little hates of Venice. Absolutely perfect trip to get to know a little about it all.

a very knowledgeable guide, who gave us a historical tour whilst keeping us in touch with the reality of today. Extremely interesting.

Lots of history about how Venice came to be, a great tour of the Basilica and a lovely walking tour along the streets of Venice.

Wonderful tour guide! Very interesting and engaging tour. Loved getting into the Basilica without the line!