Venice Shore Excursions
St Mark's Basilica
Dominating one side of St Mark's Square, Venice's fabulous Basilica is a must-see for visitors. Built in 1094, when the Venetian Republic's star was on a meteoric rise, the Basilica boasts of the republic's growing power and wealth. There are treasures everywhere one looks, but be sure to notice the famous 4 Greek-era horses on the exterior balcony, the fine marble floor, and the high altar, the Pala d'Oro, made of gold and encrusted with jewels.
Next to the Basilica stands the magnificent Doge's palace, built in the 14th and 15th centuries. This was the official residence of the Doge, the head of the Venice ruling council. Highlights of the Palace include the fine Porta della Carta gate, where announcements to the public where made, and the Sala del Collegio where the Doge met with foreign ambassadors. Those of a morbid humor can enjoy crossing between the Palace and the Prison, via the Bridge of Sighs.
In front of the Basilica stands the city's main bell tower or Campanile. This was built in the early part of the 16th century to keep time for the residents. The tower had five bells each with a different sound and a different purpose - one proclaimed the beginning and end of the working day, one rang at noon, one called member to council meetings, one rang to proclaim a Senate meeting, and the last marked an execution.
Accademia Art Gallery
The art lover with greatly enjoy the impressive range of painting on show at the Accademia, an art gallery set in the former Scuola della Carità, a 18th century convent. The collection highlights the masters of Venetian painting in medieval times including luminaries like Jacopo Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini.
The iconic Rialto Bridge opened in 1591. For over 300 years, it was the only footbridge across the beautiful Gran Canal. The bridge has a central footpath lined by shops, an arrangement much liked in early times.
In 1425, one of Venice's richest men, Marino Contarini, determined to build the most magnificent palazzo. decided to build Venice's most magnificent palazzo. Today, Ca' d'Oro is an art gallery, open to the public. It's home toe Baron Franchetti's (the last private owner) superb art collection, which features works by Titian, Tintoretto, Carpaccio, Tiepolo, and Giorgione. And as a bonus the 1st and 2nd floors have outstanding views over the Grand Canal.