Today we set out for our last adventure in Venice….a visit to St. Mark’s Square and Doge's Palace. We wandered the back streets for about 45 minutes, again oohing and ahhing over the window displays we passed. Then, as we turned a corner, we knew we were in St. Mark’s Square by the mass of people we encountered. Talk about a sea of humanity!
Exquisite, Enthralling Doge's Palace
We wove through to get to our first destination, Doge’s Palace, where we checked in about 20 minutes early for our “Secret Itineraries” Tour. Tickets in hand, we entered the courtyard, and took a step back in time to Venice’s great past. We marveled at the architecture, and took the few minutes before our tour to take some lovely group shots in the majestic setting.
At 9:55 our tour began, and we embarked on an hour and 15 minute exploration of the inner sanctum of Doge’s Palace. These halls and rooms are places that normal visitors never got to see when the Palace was used in the governing of Venice. As we climbed through secret passageways and prisons (including where Casanova escaped from), our excellent guide educated us as to how the Doge and nobility governed pre-conquered Venice. We were utterly fascinated and inspired by the many checks and balances used in the government, roles shifting often to minimize corruption and upheaval. Justice was fair but swift, with the forward-thinking leaders being among the first to outlaw torture and child labor. The tour definitely enlightened our thinking, as it is easy to think of old governments having old ways, not being nearly as progressive as the Venetian government, indeed, was.
Next stop was St. Mark’s Basilica. As we saw the line snaking from the entrance, we were thankful to have pre-reserved a timed entry before leaving home. We walked up to the door, scanned our ticket, and entered the world-famous place of worship. Inside, we slowly strolled through the building, absorbing the beauty of the gold ceilings, and the sounds of a mass occurring in an alcove. We chose to bypass the treasury and other areas that required payment to enter, as just being inside the Basilica was enough for us.
With those “must-see’s” taken care of, we truly felt like we had experienced Venice well in the 27 hours we were there. We were ready to escape to the beauty and serenity of the Ruby Princess. As we cruised up the Grand Canal one last time, we admired yet again the beautiful structures and tranquil waterways we have come to love. Venice, you truly are a gem. Thanks for the memories to last a lifetime!
Lisa is the travel loving, animal adoring, Mickey Mouse hugging owner of Dreams Delivered Travel.