Guides Hélène, Sabrina and Fernando organize and personally lead guided walking tours to all the major tourist sites of interest in this amazing City on water. Explore the vast treasures in the City’s museums, art galleries, as well as enjoying the secrets revealed of lesser known spots and boat tours in and around Venice.
Our small group of dedicated professionals will also be happy to advise clients on the City’s culinary delights, wine, local crafts and as part of their commitment, provide first hand information regarding all the main events in this magical place on water.
DORSODURO & SAN POLO - This itinerary unfolds through the elegant Dorsoduro district, one of the favorite areas among Anglo – American visitors in Venice at the turn of the 20th century and proceeds to San Polo, reaching the Rialto Bridge. We will start by the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, with its balloon-like dome that has become so much part of our image of Venice.
As the tour proceeds, passing by the Accademia Galleries and San Barnaba church, once used as a “library” by Dr. Indiana Jones, we get into the lively campo Santa Margherita. Both locals and young university students like to gather in this spacious “field” as the numerous scattered cafes can witness. Later, we visit the huge Franciscan church of the Frari to admire the worldly famous works of Titian and Bellini. A stroll along the Grand Canal will lead us to finish the tour by the Rialto Bridge , the past and present heart of the commercial and financial life of Venice.
CASTELLO - Starting from Riva degli Schiavoni, the main quayside of Venice, we can see the beautiful natural port of the town. Nearby, the campo San Zaccaria, awaits us overlooked by its early Renaissance church built by Mauro Coducci and commissioned by the wealthiest nunnery in town. The bell tower melting like a candle atop the church of Santa Maria Formosa stands out in one of the city's hubs: at any time people cross this campo to get to Rialto, San Marco or San Giovanni e Paolo the quarter where we're heading next.
Commander Colleoni welcomes us into the next square astride his bronze horse. He faces the largest building in town, the Dominican church of San Zanipolo, an all time pantheon for Venice's glories. Later on we get to know of the Greek and Dalmatian communities and their hidden treasures. As the tour comes to an end we go by the leonine guarded gate of the city's great Arsenal, Europe's first and largest shipyard.
CANNAREGIO - Starting our tour by the Rialto bridge, we first have a look at the supposed family home of Marco Polo; this will be the right spot to recall the incredible 27 years journey of Marco through Asia. We proceed then to Cannaregio, the north-east district of the city: secluded by geography from the bustling Rialto-San Marco hub, this area still keeps an authentic Venetian ambiance.
Approaching the northern most edge of Venice, we get to the parish of Madonna dell'Orto, the right spot to view the great Tintoretto. Just close by we'll bring back to life an oriental flavored history as we view some curious embedded stone figures of a camel and its turbaned merchant master.
Further ahead the churchless campo of the New Ghetto welcomes us into the first established premises where Jews of diverse provenances were obliged to reside from 1516 until 1797. Within a most restrained space, a cosmopolitan group of Jews contributed to both the commercial wealth of Venice and the diffusion of their own culture.
THE ART LOVER TOUR ONE - Venice painting School has always been celebrated in Europe as one of the leading ones; the names of Carpaccio, Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto resound in their masterly works hosted in the largest Venetian painting collection, the Accademia Galleries.
Originally established by the French in 1806 as the gallery of the School of Fine Arts , the premises of an old monastery and its church were chosen to house both a school and a museum. At the time of the down fall of the Venetian Republic many holy buildings where closed down and the dispersed works of art were housed in the Accademia to form the bulk of its collection. Join us then in a selected itinerary through the most significant works on display and get your own view of over five centuries of great Venetian painting.
To complete our art tour today we go to the nearby Dominican church of Gesuati overlooking the vastness of the Giudecca canal. This is the perfect spot where to admire Venice's 18th century genius, Giambattista Tiepolo and see his work still in situ.
ARTISANS AND THEIR CRAFTS - Venice was not only a port of call and a city of trade. Sustained since its early days by a large company of artisans and craftsmen, the lagoon city became a major production center of refined handcrafts throughout Europe. Not to mention a market of luxury goods that until 1800 was patronized by the longest living and most established nobility on the continent.
Along an itinerary through selected artisans' workshops we will take you behind the scenes to discover the way some of the best-known and old handicrafts of Venice are created. You might choose to learn the secrets of making marble paper, masks, lace, gilding, textiles and brocades. Or again observe how gondolas, shoes, bronze, copper artifacts and mosaics are made.
BEYOND VENICE - The Venetian lagoon, made up of some 360 sq. miles, is full of low, green islands of varying size, linked by channels through the muddy shallows. These unique surroundings originally fostered several scattered groups of mainland refugees through fishing, salt collecting and boat ferrying.
The islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello nowadays recall the earliest days of Venice and are still lively examples of the lagoon's own culture. The internationally famous Murano has been for 700 years the center of glass making. Burano with its brightly painted houses is the most typical lagoon fisherman village and the archeological site of Torcello offers you the oldest cathedral of Venice. Spend a few hours in the relaxing setting of this calm water environment and get a complete overview of the lagoon.
RIALTO AND MORE - Descending the Rialto bridge, we enter the Rialto market district. In the mornings the place is thronged with locals who get there to buy fresh vegetables, fish, meat and cheese into the numerous shops. Rialto was the commercial center of Venice for much of its history. The same name conjures up what probably was the single richest market in Europe for oriental goods and luxury products like spices, jewelery, precious stones, carpets, fabrics, pigments, and much more.
Later on we will move into the nearby former 'red light district' of the city, the so-called Castelletto, where more prosaic dealings were taking place. A visit into the noble palazzo Mocenigo and its textiles and costumes museum will be next: the right place to breath the sophisticated ambiance of the family that gave six doges to the Most Serene Republic.
A stop in one of the many 'bacari' or local food&wine inns, typically located in the Rialto area, will add some authentic flavor to our relaxed wandering and close today's tour.
18-TH CENTURY VENICE - In its last century of independence, Venice had become a major European tourist center. The Carnival, artificially protracted from October until February, gave an air of spurious gaiety to the dying “Most Serene Republic.” A century of decadence, as it has been officially recorded by scholarship, nonetheless Venice of the 1700's witnessed a last striking artistic flowering through the works of Tiepolo and Canaletto.
Several other names can be recalled also if we take into account a wide array of minor arts like wood carving, gilding, furniture making, glass, china ware, and furnishings. In today's itinerary you can grasp all this through a visit into the grandest palazzo of the time, Ca' Rezzonico, where the inside decoration is so skillfully arranged that you can savour the authentic atmosphere of a great 18th century family home.
Continuing our tour, you will later find the reserved atmosphere of the Carmelite Scuola , one of the only four brotherhoods left in town whose premises host the greatest works by Tiepolo. We will end by Ca' Zenobio, a privately owned palace where you will be able to have a glimpse on a smaller, more intimate kind of dwelling, with its delightful ballroom and garden.
VIEWPOINTS - The watery nature of Venice , even if dominant, is only rarely caught by visitors when they have to go places on often crowded vaporetti or water buses. In today's tour instead we'd like to offer you a wide and comprehensive overview of the city's spectacular architectural scene with view points from the water. So step in a private motorboat and let us show you a choice of important landmarks in town as we wander through the Grand Canal: the most impressive water way of Venice.
Let's go around the islands of Venice and pass by the imposing defence walls of the Arsenale. And then the most privileged view in town awaits us just a couple of minutes away from Saint Mark's square: the island of San Giorgio Maggiore overlooking the main water basin. From the top of the belfry of San Giorgio we enjoy the most panoramic and breathtaking view you can get in Venice.
THE PIAZZA - To celebrate every aspect of the city, nearly every great Venetian work of art and architecture is in some way a celebration of the beauty, the power and the magnificence of Venice. Saint Mark's square, the political center, represents all this. It was intended to express the greatness of the capital of the Venetian empire. Join us then into the Ducal Palace and Saint Mark's Church and learn about 1200 years of the civil, religious and cultural institutions that made Venice one of the great powers of Europe.
Later, walking through the piazza, shunning the pigeons, we'll let you know about curious anecdotes and the famous people that met in the cafes that made this place a real travel icon. All that's important about Venice can be easily grasped in the premises of what has become the piazza par excellence making this tour an all time favorite for new comers.
FIRST TIME IN VENICE - Discover Venice on your first visit to the magical city! As “first timers’ your wish to grasp the landmarks of the city can be met, and then some. The walk unfolds through the elegant Piazza San Marco, surrounded by the governmental buildings of the ancient Republic: this was in fact the political, religious and cultural center of it all. Join us in the shining gold Byzantine Saint Mark church, one of the most incredible Christian buildings ever built.
We’ll later start a pleasant walk through Castello district: the large campo Santa Maria Formosa will give you the chance to observe a wide array of architectural styles all within a single glance.
The square of San Giovanni e Paolo next awaits us. There a striking contrast between Renaissance and Gothic can be observed best: the huge Dominican church towers over the shimmering marble façade of the former School of Saint Mark.
We will not miss the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli either: a sort of jeweled casket made of precious marbles.Before reaching Rialto we will pass by the Marco Polo house. From the top of the famous Rialto bridge, you’ll encounter all the splendors of the Grand Canal, as we are now heading into the commercial district of Venice. This was the financial and commercial center of Venice for much of its history, one of the most advanced of Europe.
The market surrounds the district: in the morning this is the liveliest corner of Venice: full of locals buying their fresh food from its vegetable and fish stands. The Rialto is always the best place to sip a glass of wine and try some local delicious finger food.
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