Venice, Italy

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Venice, Italy

Venice may be the city of romance, but it's also the city of skulking spirits.

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In addition to being one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe, Venice also is enveloped in mystery. The legends that haunt the canals of this City of Water range from sea monsters to jilted lovers to Marco Polo's wife.

Tours of Italy offers The Venice Ghost Walking Tour, a ghost tour of the city. This tour offers you a chance to hear some ghostly legends and see the city's most important landmarks and hidden byways.

The tour begins at the Rialto Bridge, after which you'll tour the city's maze of canals and campi. You'll hear stories about a prison where inmates suffered in rat-infested cells that frequently flooded with the tides. Next, the tour goes to the Street of the Assassins, where numerous murders and dirty deeds took place. The tour then explores a "campo" (Italian for an area of land or a field) that used to house many of Venice's cemeteries. The tour also takes visitors through a secret, hidden passageway, once used as an escape route from palaces.

Along the way, you'll see the Bovolo staircase built by an extravagant, wealthy Venetian who climbed the staircase on horseback to gain access to his private apartments in his palace. This elaborate staircase is a stunning piece of the many architectural wonders of Venice.

One of the most chilling sites on this tour is the area called Milione, named after the memoirs of Marco Polo. Here, you'll hear the tragic tale of Polo's wife. Polo spent 25 years traveling; for 17 years, he worked for the emperor of China, Kublai Khan. Although never officially documented, Venetians have long told the tale that Marco Polo fell in love with Kublai's daughter, Hao Dong. He soon married this beautiful girl who was noted for her enchanting voice, and she followed him during his many years of travel.

Upon return to Venice, however, Hao Dong was mistrusted due to the fact that she looked very different from most Venetians. She would voluntarily lock herself inside, finding solace in her song. Placed under close observation by the Catholic Church for marrying a non-Christian, Marco Polo was soon imprisoned by the Genoese. Lucia, one of Marco Polo's sisters, cruelly told Hao Dong that he had died. Saying nothing, Hao Dong set fire to her clothing and threw herself out of a window into the canal. To this day, legend has it that you can hear Hao Dong's mournful melody on the banks of the canal. Some also claim to see a figure holding a blue flame floating in the night sky.

The tour ends with a breathtaking view of the main bridge of the Grand Canal. You can also arrange for a private tour for a more intimate and personal experience. This tour is popular, so book well in advance.

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