We were lucky to be invited to go along on another Walks of Italy tour, this time in Venice. This unique city on the water is best explored by boat and that is just what we did. The tour met in St Marco square and we easily found our guide and the 4 others in our group. We were given headsets, which was nice even with a small group because it meant we could sit wherever we wanted and still be able to hear our guide during the boat ride. After seeing our trip route on the map from our guide Christine, we boarded a nice water taxi and were off for the first hour of our tour.
We weaved in and out of canals, learning about the different churches, homes and statues along the way. Our guide explained the history of the city, a city she was born and raised in! We went to the “secret” Venice, the canals where only the locals go, where we saw different neighborhoods and locals going about their daily life.
We learned that Venice was a melting pot of cultures with neighborhoods representing the Jewish, Greek and Middle Eastern communities. It was really amazing to see and imagine what life was like when the town was bustling with trade. We were also able to see an old gondola boatyard were they still make, repair and clean the gondolas of Venice!
After spending a great amount of time on the water we got out of the water taxi at San Giorgio Maggiore where we learned a bit about the island and the church and then we went inside to explore. We were given some time to go up to the top of the bell tower (by elevator) and see the amazing 360 degree views of Venice before heading back. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking!
The full cost of the tour is 98 Euro per person. We felt that, although a little out of our budget, it is well worth it! You have to experience Venice on the water and hiring a gondola for a 40 minute ride, with little to no commentary, is a flat fee of $80 Euro for up to six people during the day or $100 at night. It appeared that the gondolas all follow the same route and there are a ton of them one right after the other. The water taxi and ticket to the bell tower on San Giorgio Maggiore Island is $13 Euro per person if you were to do it on your own and again you get no commentary about the island. The only issue we had was with the headsets and the wind, which made it a little hard to hear our guide for most of the boat trip. We highly recommend Walks of Italy for a tour of Venice and really liked the small group size of 8 (ours only had 6). Check them out if you are considering a tour anywhere in Italy, as they have many locations throughout the country.