Silvia was e excellant. She was engaging and knowledgeable. We were never bored during our 2.5 tour. We has been to Venice several times, but never learned as much as from this tour. The Doges palace was stunning as well as St. Mark's. Skip the line was well worth it. The lines of non toured were enormous. We just walked to the head of the line.
To be honest, we didn't do the Basilica tour. It was so incredibly cold snow in the forecast, windchill dropping the temp down to 15 degrees or so that we couldn't make it past the Doge's Palace--with no insulation or heat, it was a very cold tour. Overall the tour itself was fine but 'Skip the Line' still means you have another line to wait in. That's fine, I understand since it's for metal detectors. However there was no organization to the lines and a group of school students trying to jump in front of us physically barred my way and tried to block me from getting to my group. The groups were very large as well so staying together was difficult. The guide was knowledgeable however and did what she could to keep everyone together.
The tour of the Doges Palace and St. Mark's basilica was a nice tour - the parts that we could follow! It was extremely crowded in both the Doges and St. Mark's, our guide unfortunately was small in stature, and he refused to hold up any kind of sign, umbrella, etc. as other guides have done so that we could follow him. We had earpiece/headsets, but he would just say 'follow me' ...not at all helpful when you can't see him. Several times we became separated from the group and had to scurry around trying to find them. At one point we were just about to give up and venture out on our own. The information was good, but often applied to a different area than the one we found ourselves in, because we had become separated from the guide. Please encourage all guides to have a point of reference they can hold up when conditions are crowded.