Visitors to Vatican City may be surprised to find that there are actually two lines to look out for: one for the Vatican Museums, and one for St. Peter’s Basilica. Home to 54 galleries, the Vatican Museums house some of the world’s most precious artwork. The largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica features many iconic works of art, including Michelangelo’s La Pietà. La Pietà, or “The Pity” is considered by many art historians to be one of the world’s most famous sculptures.
DOGE’S PALACE SECRET ITINERARIES TOUR
On our Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries Tour, you’ll discover a darker side of Venice. You’ll see the Doge’s Palace’s hidden torture chambers and even Casanova’s jail cell. See all of the areas of the Palace that are not open to the public and even cross the notorious Bridge of Sighs.
If you’re looking for a unique Venice experience, The Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries Tour is your best option. Visit sections of the palace that are restricted to the general public. You’ll see Venice’s dark side and learn about the city’s brutal legal system.
Note: During the months of July, August and November thru February, the . During this time, we will cover other fascinating aspects of The Doge’s Palace.
The Doge’s Palace
Your tour begins outside of the Doge’s Palace, where you will meet your guide. You’ll learn about the history of the palace, St. Mark’s Square and the city of Venice. Admire the Venetian Gothic façade of The Doge’s Palace before skipping the line to enter. Sitting next to St. Mark’s Basilica, The Doge’s Palace was once home to the Doge during Venice’s period as a republic.
Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries Tour
Except: July, August, November, December, January and February
The inside of the Doge’s Palace features meticulously-designed marble floors, fireplaces and friezes. You’ll see the beautiful courtyard occupying the space between the palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. After experiencing the courtyard’s splendor, you’ll enter through a secret door to access restricted areas and begin your Doge’s Palace secret itineraries tour.
Doge’s Palace Prison Cells and Offices
Inside the restricted areas of The Doge’s Palace, you’ll visit the small damp detention cells also called pozzi. Your guide will show you the many drawings and writing on the wall that tells the story of those held inside of the pozzi. You will then take a small stairway to visit two nearby rooms that housed members of Venice’s Council of Ten, the city’s governing body from 1310-1797. Afterwards, your tour guide will take you to see the Office of the Great Chancellor, the keeper of Venice’s General Archives.
Palace Torture Chambers and Casanova’s Cell
Your Doge’s Palace secret itineraries tour will continue to the torture chamber. Nicknamed the Chamber of Torment, this room is directly connected to the palace prisons. Your guide will teach you about the methods of torture implemented during the interrogation process. Following the visit to the torture chamber, you’ll walk next door and see the prison cells called piombi. The piombi were meant for political prisoners and those with shorter sentences. You’ll learn about the only prisoner to escape from the Doge’s Palace; Giacomo Casanova. Your guide will take you to visit his cell and tell you the story of his daring escape.
The Infamous Bridge of Sighs
The Doge’s Palace Bridge of Sighs, also known as Ponte dei Sospiri, towers over the Rio di Palazzo and links the palace interrogation chamber to its prison cells. Prisoners were led across the bridge’s covered interior to sometimes lifelong sentences. The bridge’s small windows with stone bars gave prisoners their last glimpse of the city of Venice.
Conclude in St. Mark’s Square
Your Doge’s Palace secret itineraries tour concludes with the option to remain inside the palace and explore on your own or return to St. Mark’s Square with the group. Before departing from the group, be sure to ask your guide where the best places to eat in Venice are. Our Venice guides know the ins and outs of The Floating City.
For an unforgettable Venice experience, be sure to check out our other Venice tours. We offer a hidden Venice food tour and a Venice highlights tour with a gondola ride. Make your visit to Venice a memorable one with The Roman Guy.
THE COMPLETE COLOSSEUM EXPERIENCE, TOP TO BOTTOM
One of our most top-selling tours, this exclusive Colosseum underground and top levels tour includes all of the monument’s restricted areas. See the Colosseum’s Underground, arena floor, and the top levels.
You’ll have top-to-bottom access to the Colosseum Underground, Arena Floor, lower levels and the recently-reopened top levels. Access all of the Colosseum’s restricted areas and see 2,000 years of history up close. This Colosseum underground and top levels tour features a guided exploration of the Roman Forum. This four-hour tour includes:
– Skip the line Colosseum Underground tour
– Access to the Arena Floor
– Third, Fourth and Fifth “Belvedere” Levels
– Professional, English-speaking guide
– Guided tour of the Roman Forum
Please note: In order to end the tour inside the Colosseum, and allow for time to explore the monument afterward, we begin with a guided tour of the Roman Forum.
Downtown Ancient Rome
Have you ever wondered what the Roman Forum was? Now see it for yourself! The Forum’s sprawling ruins are what once was “downtown” Ancient Rome. Developed in the 7th century, this district served as the Roman Empire’s commercial and political hub. You won’t need to wait in line to get in with us, because you’ll skip the line and head right inside with your expert guide. See the Roman Forum’s many attractions like the Temple of Antoninus, the Temple of Julius Caesar, and the Arch of Titus and Faustina.
The Colosseum Underground and Dungeons
Beneath the Arena Floor’s violent pageantry was the Colosseum Underground. This dark staging area, known as the “Hypogeum” was where gladiators and wild beasts were held prior to fighting.
You’ll see the Colosseum Underground’s re-created lift, which demonstrates how gladiators and animals were transported to the Arena Floor. If seeing the Eternal City’s dark side appeals to you, be sure to visit the Colosseum Underground.
A Gladiator’s Entrance through the Gate of Death
Experience what Ancient Rome’s gladiators did when moving from the Colosseum Underground to the reconstructed Arena Floor through the Porto Libitinaria. Nicknamed the “Gate of Death”, this is where deceased competitors were removed from the amphitheater. Up to 60,000 ancient Romans witnessed the gladiatorial matches that took place on the Arena Floor. As you stand inside the arena, imagine the adrenaline rush that the screams of 60,000 spectators would bring.
Third, Fourth and Fifth Levels
After visiting the Roman Colosseum’s general access area, you’ll pass through a special locked gate and ascend to the restricted top tiers. You’ll see the marvelous views of the Forum and the Colosseum from what once were Ancient Rome’s “nosebleed seats.”
Everyone standing in the general access areas will wonder how you got to the top. Nowhere else in the Colosseum can you experience such a jaw-dropping view. Once there, you’ll take great pictures and learn about Ancient Rome’s social structure in relation to the Colosseum’s seating practices.
Bread and Circuses
Despite the seating arrangement according to wealth and status, the Colosseum was for everyone. The phrase “bread and circuses” refers to a practice used by emperors to prevented Roman citizens from revolting. This phrase was built on the philosophy that a well-fed populace with free access to entertainment is less likely to revolt against its rulers. You’ll learn more about this and other nuances of Ancient Roman society with our Colosseum Underground and top levels tour.
Travel from Paris to Champagne for a scenic trip to the French countryside. Sip delicious champagne and explore the intricate process of manufacturing this delicious French wine.
Visiting this popular French beverage’s title city is definitely an excuse to pop a bottle of champagne. Visit two of the area’s major cities while exploring the rolling vineyards and French landscapes. Explore exquisite champagne houses and wine cellars and enjoy a delicious lunch along the way. This full day day trip from Paris includes:
-Round trip transportation from Paris to Champagne
-Two Champagne houses with tasting experiences
-Free time in Épernay
-Visit to famous cathedral in Reims
Our first stop on this day trip from Paris to Champagne will be a visit to the city of Reims, known as the capital city of the Champagne region. There, you can explore its main cathedral, Notre Dame de Reims. Feel like a royal as you enter the gothic cathedral in which dozens of French kings have been coronated.
Taittinger Champagne House
After exploring this beautiful cathedral, it’s time to visit the first champagne house of the day. At the Taittinger Champagne House, you will learn all about the detailed process of curating champagne. Visit charming wine cellars and see how expert wine produces manufacture such a delicious product. Of course, enjoy the fruits of their labor by trying out some sensational bubbly for yourself.
Lunch in Epernay
Onto the next stop, visit the charming town of Epernay. Here, walk the streets lined with dozens of restaurants and storefronts. Stroll down Avenue de Champagne and get a bite to eat before continuing onto the next stops of your Paris day trip.
*The price of lunch is not included in the cost of this tour.
Abbey of Hautvillers
Often considered the birthplace of Champagne, the Abbey of Hautvillers is a charming village home to the famous Dom Perignon. Explore this Benedictine monastery and see Perignon’s tomb and final resting place.
Your second champagne house of the day will be a smaller, family-owned vineyard. Here, you will be able to compare the two wine cellars and champagne flavors and decide on a favorite. Understand the differences between a household name champagne versus a more locally curated blend from a family-owned brand.
THE EARLIEST OF ALL EARLY ACCESS PRIVATE VATICAN TOURS!
Our super early private Vatican Platinum Tour features the most exclusive Vatican Museum experience. Enter the museums at 7:30 a.m., an entire hour and a half before the general public, and see the Sistine Chapel in complete solitude.
If you prefer to avoid crowds while on vacation, this exclusive super early private Vatican tour is perfect for you. Enter an entire hour and a half before the general public and see the Sistine Chapel at its quietest. Look heavenward and marvel at Michelangelo’s many frescoes including the famous Creation of Adam.
Raphael’s Students and Maps of the Italian Peninsula
Your guide will take you through the Vatican’s main galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries and Candelabra Gallery. Admire the many ancient Greek statues and tapestries created by Raphael’s pupils. View the care and craftsmanship taken by early cartographers in creating some of the first maps of Italy and its surrounding areas.
Sistine Chapel Without the Crowds
Experience the magic of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel free from the crowds and long lines. Admire the many Biblical frescoes that adorn its ceilings and walls. Be one of the first to enter this marvelous display and experience it in complete serenity. The location of the Papal Conclave, the Sistine Chapel hosts the election of new popes.
As the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, visitors are not permitted to speak once inside. Your tour guide will explain its history to you and provide you with a reference map prior to entering. Visitors must also have their knees and shoulders covered at all times while inside. Please consider bringing a shawl or sweater during the summer months as Rome is known for its high temperatures during this time.
Majestic St. Peter’s Basilica
After visiting the Sistine Chapel, your guide will bring you to St. Peter’s Basilica through a special door. The world’s largest church, St. Peter’s Basilica took 120 years to build. This work of Renaissance architecture features immaculate attention to detail, seen both in its construction and its artwork. Admire the care taken by Bramante, Michelangelo, Maderno and Bernini in designing the basilica.
Once you have admired St. Peter’s Basilica’s many works of art including La Pieta and Bernini’s 20 meter high Baldacchino, your tour will conclude with a special visit to the Papal tombs, the final resting place for hundreds of popes and one Swedish queen.
If your tour falls on a Wednesday, St. Peter’s will be closed due to the Papal Audience. In this case, your private Vatican tour guide will show you many more of the Vatican Museums’ hidden gems.
Important: It is not possible to return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want to spend more time inside the museums while on this private Vatican tour, you must forgo the guided tour of the basilica. Also, if you’d like to stay in St. Peter’s Basilica longer, don’t leave with the guide to take photos in the piazza. Because the security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended, we suggest you stay inside St. Peter’s and explore on your own after the tour concludes.
This full day trip from Paris to Normandy will capture the beauty of this French beach town and offer detailed descriptions of the region’s historical significance. Visit Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and even a cider house for a quick taste of local delicacies.
What is D-Day? On this tour, you’ll learn the many details of the day that became a turning point in WWII. D-Day took place on June 6, 1944 when Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. D-Day began what we now know as the Battle of Normandy, which lasted for three months. Now, we we look back at D-Day and consider it the beginning of the end of World War II. This tour will provide the full scoop on the historical significance of Normandy, and even take you to a local cider house where you will be able to try some specialty drinks. This day trip includes:
-A professional English-speaking guide
-Round-trip transportation from Paris to Normandy
-Cider tasting and tour
-Visits to Point du Hoc and Omaha Beach
Point du Hoc
After your train ride from Paris to Normandy, your first stop will be Point du Hoc, a scenic area with beautiful cliffs. Though the Germans took control of this area during WWII, the Allied forces made it their mission to seize control of these cliffs and take over the coastline. As you stand atop the Point du Hoc cliffs overlooking the gorgeous beaches of Normandy, learn about the heroic acts that took place in the same spot. See true artifacts left behind from the war, including bomb craters and bunkers while your guide elaborates on the gritty details surrounding the Battle of Normandy.
On D-Day, the German troops stormed five different beaches. Out of these, Omaha Beach was the largest. Now a gorgeous seascape that’s difficult to think ever involved militant activity, this beach serves as a reminder of the Allied troops’ turning point in WWII.
Break for Lunch
After a morning of learning the historical significances of Normandy and D-Day, it’s definitely time for a bite to eat. We’ll stop at a local restaurant for you to enjoy a relaxing and fulfilling break.
*Cost of lunch is not included in the price of this tour.
Cider Tasting and Tour
After a relaxing lunch break, you’ll visit a local cider house for a tour and tasting of the local nectars. Learn about the liqueur of the land and get a taste of some French delicacies. Specifically, you’ll taste an apple brandy known as Calvados and another apple mixture called pommeau. Maybe even pick out a bottle to bring home with you to remember your fabulous Normandy day trip.
Before returning to Paris, visit the American Cemetery which serves as the final resting place for many American soldiers who lost their lives in combat. Covering over 170 acres of land, this burial site honors more than 9,000 American soldiers. After paying a visit, head back to Paris by train to conclude your Paris to Normandy day trip.
A French meal is not complete without a delicious glass of champagne. Did you know that only wine manufactured in the Champagne region of France can be considered champagne? On this day trip from Paris, explore two Champagne houses, the city of Reims and the quaint town of Épernay. Bon appétit!
Escape the crowded and often touristy streets of Paris on this authentic experience. Your local guide will show you the landmarks of Épernay and Reims. At each champagne house, local champagne curators will enchant you with their marvelous properties and wine making techniques. Toast to a fabulous French vacation and enjoy your scenic and delicious experience.