Exceptional guided tour. Our guide Alessandro was extremely knowledgeable and a big contribution to make it a memorable experience. The Basilica’s lighted interior is an unique experience that can’t be missed.
Nowhere in the description by the company does it say how long the tour is, we looked everywhere. That was the only downside, we didn’t realize quite how long it was. The first portion is the Doge’s palace, which moves from... More
Nowhere in the description by the company does it say how long the tour is, we looked everywhere. That was the only downside, we didn’t realize quite how long it was. The first portion is the Doge’s palace, which moves from room to room throughout the palace for 90 minutes or so. A few rooms have benches around the outside, but opportunities to sit will be for 2-3 minutes before moving on, standing for 15 minutes or so before another bench appears. Then there is a restroom break of 10-15 minutes before regrouping in front of the Basilica. Bring snacks, as this break coincides with the closure of the museum and cafeteria. We stood in front of the Basilica for 20 minutes or so, waiting for mass to clear out before being allowed in (lots of wonderful stories from the guide, not boring, but wear comfy shoes!!!) The Basilica portion is also about 90 minutes. It begins standing in the hall for 15 minutes or so (crowded, standing room only) admiring all the mosaics before being allowed in the sanctuary. Once in the sanctuary, we were seated in the pews for a good 15-20 minutes to enjoy the lights and hear all about the gold mosaics. The rest of the tour is standing, moving throughout the side chapels and basement area. But there would be no problem if you wanted to stay seated in the main pews to enjoy the mosaics for the rest of the tour, as the different groups cycle through the side chapels around you. You might even be able to hear your own group’s tour guide for a good portion, as the short wave listening devices work for a little distance. My mother did this, she was exhausted after 2 hours. The church is so lovely I really don’t think you’d feel you were missing much at this point in the tour. She still names it as one of the highlights of our Italy trip. Depends how interested you are in seeing the altar pieces and how difficult standing is for you. The tour is absolutely worth it, our guide made it incredibly interesting throughout. However, if you have difficulty being on your feet for an extended period, this could be a challenge. If you are carrying a baby, go with someone you could trade off with. I’m not sure strollers are allowed. There’s no way I would personally bring a very young child or toddler too big to wear on this tour, I just don’t think it would be enjoyable for anyone. My 10 year old did fine, but she’s pretty attentive for that age, so I’d say borderline 10 and up to enjoy the tour, your mileage may vary.