You’ll leave your hotel this morning after breakfast and travel to your next stop, Venice, on an ITALO bullet train. You’ll speed your way through the countryside of northern Italy, with a boxed lunch provided on board, and arrive in Venice by the early afternoon.
There is, simply, no other city in the world like Venice, built atop a series of islands on a lagoon at the northern end of the Adriatic. It has long drawn poets and artists, enchanted by this watery world. Most of the city is car-free, and while there are motorized water taxis and a public transit system of ferries, the most magical way to see it is from a gondola
—the traditional mode of transportation to get around this city since the 11th century. We can’t guarantee your gondolier will sing, but as you travel along the Grand Canal and pass by the Rialto Bridge, you may be moved to belt out a song yourself.
Afterwards, you’ll join a walking tour of Venice’s most famous square—the Piazza San Marco. Here, the Doge’s Palace sits next to the Basilica San Marco, the city’s cathedral and one of the best surviving examples of the Italo-Byzantine style of architecture. Its ornate exterior and interior glowing with golden mosaics reflect the cultural influence of the Byzantine Empire when the building was constructed in the 11th century. The iconic horses atop the church and overlooking the piazza were in fact looted from Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in the Fourth Crusade.
The piazza is more than the buildings that ring it, however. It has been described as “the drawing room of Europe” (a phrase often attributed to Napoleon). That nickname seems even more apt today. If you sit at a cafe and watch the world pass by, you’ll see visitors from every corner of the continent (and the globe, for that matter) taking delight in Venice’s beauty.
After your tour, you’ll board a private boat to the Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky, which sits on the island of Giudecca, across a channel from Venice’s principal islands. This hotel, located in a former flour mill (in Italian, molino
) is an appealing base in Venice, with larger rooms and amenities like an enormous spa and a rooftop pool that you won’t find in most hotels on Venice’s main islands.
The hotel will host a welcome reception for your group, and then you’ll have an evening free to enjoy dinner on your own. Adventure Guides can recommend options both on Giudecca or back in Venice.