Hidden Venice

Oct 24, 2011 No Comments by

Experience the lesser-known corners of Venice with Smithsonian Journeys

November 6 – 13, 2011

Click here to learn more about this journey and book your space today!


The water-laced city of Venice lies suspended between reality and fantasy. Experience the unique pleasures of this ethereal city in the company of Resident Expert Bruna Caruso, a native Venetian and art historian. You’ll gain rare access to amazing art collections, including an after-hours tour of the Basilica San Marco and an in-depth visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia. During an excursion to the original settlement of Torcello, view stunning mosaics and savor lunch at the idyllic Locanda Cipriani. And by special arrangement, visit a glassblowing factory on the island of Murano. Become part of the rhythm of Venetian life as you watch the activity along the Grand Canal from the balcony of a private palazzo and enjoy local cuisine throughout your stay. We’ve selected a historic hotel only steps from Piazza San Marco to make for easy exploration during your time at leisure. Feel the magic of Venice when fewer tourists are here and experience its hidden treasures familiar only to the Venetians.




  • Throughout this tour, travel in the company of an exceptional Smithsonian Study Leader. Resident Director Bruna Caruso is a native Venetian and art historian. She has cataloged works of art and taught the history of Venetian painting in collaboration with the Superintendency of Art in Venice.
  • Explore the Basilica di San Marco during an after-hours viewing to admire dazzling mosaics and gain access to parts of the basilica not normally open to the public.
  • Tour a privately owned 17th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal known for its Tiepolo ceiling.
  • Discover the islands of Murano, Torcello, and Burano and savor a lunch of local specialties at a picturesque countryside inn.
  • Admire the architectural genius of Palladio during a private tour of San Giorgio Maggiore and the adjacent cloisters, not normally open to the public.
  • Visit a glassblowing factory, by special arrangement, on the island of Murano.
  • This tour features the following World Heritage site in Italy:
  • Venice and its Lagoons
  • See a complete list of all Smithsonian tours featuring World Heritage sites.




November 6 & 7 — Depart the U.S. for Venice
Upon arrival the next day, transfer to the centrally located Hotel Monaco. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

November 8 — Doge’s Palace and San Marco
Begin your immersion into Venetian history, culture, and art with a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace, the former political seat of the Serene Republic. This afternoon, enjoy a visit to Palazzo Pisani-Moretta to admire the Tiepolo ceiling, the beautiful Murano glass chandeliers, and the view of the Grand Canal from the piano nobile. Then, savor the experience of a special after-hours tour of the grand Basilica di San Marco. View dazzling mosaics, which reflect the eastern Byzantine style that influenced the Venetian craftsmen, and admire the exquisite Pala d’Oro, a 10th-century golden altarpiece studded with enamel work and precious stones. Enjoy privileged access to parts of the Basilica that are normally closed to the public. (B)

November 9 — Murano, Torcello, and Burano
Travel by private motorlaunch to other islands in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano has been the home of Venetian glassblowers since 1291, when the furnaces and glass craftsmen were ordered to leave Venice due to the risk of fire in the city. Visit a glassblowing factory by special arrangement. Then continue to the island of Torcello and savor a lunch of Venetian specialties at the renowned country inn, Locanda Cipriani. At the 9th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, view the 13th-century apse mosaic, a moving portrayal of the Madonna and Child, and the Last Judgment mosaic covering the entire west wall. Return to Venice in the late afternoon, after a stop at the colorful fishing island of Burano, renowned for its lace-making. (B,L)

November 10 — Ca’ Rezzonico and the Dorsoduro District
Experience the sumptuous style of 18th-century Venice during a visit to Ca’ Rezzonico on the Grand Canal, a baroque palace that showcases a rich collection of 18th-century frescoes, paintings, and period furniture. Conclude the morning with a walking tour of the neighborhood, known as the Dorsoduro district. Visit the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, filled with a dramatic cycle of paintings by Tintoretto. Continue to the magnificent Gothic church of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari to admire works by Titian and Bellini. Then enjoy some time at leisure to explore this magical city on your own. (B)

November 11 — Accademia
A lecture on the use of color and light in Venetian painting prepares you for an in-depth visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia, whose fine painting collection spans the Byzantine, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo periods. Highlights include large altarpieces by Carpaccio, Giovanni Bellini, and da Conegliano and paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. (B)

November 12 — San Giorgio Maggiore
Learn about the unique architectural design of Venice during a morning lecture. Then cross the lagoon to visit a Palladian masterpiece, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, rebuilt between 1559 and 1580. Palladio used the Classical style of ancient Rome in designing the temple front and the perfect interior proportions of this church. By special arrangement, tour the adjacent Cini Foundation, a former Benedictine monastery with cloisters, also designed by Palladio. The monastery was rehabilitated in the 1950s by Count Vittorio Cini and now houses international events and exhibitions. Enjoy some time at leisure strolling through enchanting streets of this idyllic city. This evening celebrate your Venetian interlude during a festive farewell reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

November 13 — Depart Venice
Depart Venice for the U.S. on individual flights (B)


Click here to learn more about this journey and book your space today!

Europe, November

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