Guided Tour San Marco
We meet in the always buzzing Piazza San Marco and hear why it has always been so significant to the Venetian city republic. Then we set off on a backstreets odyssey that will keep the crowds at bay and allow us to get a sense of Venice as the living city the locals know intimately.
Following the narrow calli (Venetian streets, some no wider than your shoulders) we'll cross bridges and canals and emerge into campos (Venetian squares) that for centuries have been the focus of life in the local neighbourhoods.
We'll see how the urban landscape has evolved over the centuries and learn how to identify the various periods of her architectural history. Among the treasures we'll be passing: the byzantine splendour of San Marco, the gothic glory of the Church of San Giovanni & Paolo, the Renaissance purity of Santa Maria Formosa, the jewel box that is the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
We'll cross the beautiful Rialto Bridge, unchanged since 1590, and explore the Rialto markets, the traditional business hub of the city and still the vibrant destination of Venetian housewives to get the best produce for today's lunch.
Returning via Rialto Bridge we'll pause to enjoy the view up the Grand Canal then make our way along the Merceria – by tradition the shopping high street of Venice – that has been the main commercial artery to the heart of government since the city was born.
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Arriving back in Piazza San Marco, you'll be in time to hear the caffè orchestras getting into the swing for visitors tempted to stop for lunch or while away an hour watching the ever-changing spectacle that makes the Piazza the heart of the Venice.
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