Departing with escorts from the ship by large motor launch, glide along the Giudecca Canal en route to St. Mark's Square. On arrival, your guide will escort you to the Basilica and share with you its history. Saint Mark is the patron saint of Venice and the large Byzantine Basilica, which contains his remains, is one of the most popular and visited sites in the city. Crowded with visitors during the day, it becomes a silent temple of worship as the evening falls. The basilica originally served as a Mausoleum and private Chapel until the Doges built a new church completely oriental in aspect, modeled on two basilicas in Istanbul - the Churches of the Holy Apostles (now destroyed) and St. Sophia. It is particularly rich in mosaics, covering 10,764 square feet of its interior with many of them dating back to Byzantium. St Mark's Basilica houses extraordinary treasures, the finest being the large gold "Pala d'Oro," encrusted with more than one thousand jewels and Byzantine enamels. At the end of the visit, a large motor launch will be available to take you back to the ship via the same route along the Giudecca Canal.
Note: Guests must be able to walk approximately 0.375 mile (approximately 1 hour) over uneven surfaces with 10 - 15 steps. A strict dress code is enforced in St. Mark's Cathedral. Short pants and tank tops are not acceptable. Photography is not permitted inside the Basilica. Please be aware that ongoing restoration work is often being carried out in the Basilica. Participants should be aware that other parties may be visiting the Basilica at the same time so your visit is not exclusive. When the ship is berthed close to St. Mark's Square, there will be no motor launch to take you back to the vessel since it is a short walk. Tour is not appropriate for guests using wheelchairs or guests with limited mobility.