Hidden History in plain sight – unseen Venice

Byzantine art on the walls in Venice

Anywhere you look, hidden history stares back at you.

An inconspicuous sign on a wall tells a story about long forgotten crafts and social welfare in the 15th century. A graffiti under a portico reminds us how public transport worked in the 18th and 19th centuries. An oddly placed altar shows how faith was used to fight crime. History is all over.

The humblest of little signs on a wall hides a story worth being retold.

Even a short walk down the calli with a knowledgeable guide can teach you as much as a shelf full of guide books.

The Hidden History tour

I will meet you at your hotel, or at the restaurant where you’ve had lunch, or wherever it suits you in Venice, and we’ll walk around the city together, searching for messages from the past.

This is not a tour of great monuments and famous places. That’s all in the guide books, and you won’t need to for that. Rather, it is a search for all those little messages past Venetians have left around the city, that we don’t see even if they’re just in front of us.

We’ll talk about how social welfare worked in the renaissance, about the ancient links between Venice and the Byzantine empire, about the Venetian trade on the Levant, and much much more.

The hidden history is in front of our eyes, but we don’t always see it.

These articles cover some of subjects we might cover on a hidden history walk:

What others said

Rated 5.0 out of 5
March 28, 2024

Not that much to say because this tours actually delivers. It is exactly a tour with Rene with an incredible wealth of knowledge, be it from the architecture to the political system of Venice. Book here if you want to understand more about the past of Venice. And the title does not lie at all,- a lot is present in plain sight but easily to overlook. Definitely recommended!

Rated 4.0 out of 5
March 25, 2024

We enjoyed our stroll around Venice with Renee. Renee is very knowledgeable about European history. We learned a lot about Venice and its trade relations with other nations. We also learned a lot about how Venetian palaces were organized and run, which I found fascinating. Would have liked to have heard more stories about the families that occupied those palaces and their influence on the city state in its prime. Still, we had a lovely time and truly enjoyed Renee’s company and insights.

Rated 4.0 out of 5
March 19, 2024

Good experience with René, he’s passionate about the history of his beautiful city and I recommend you take this experience if you are fond of history as well. We expected a more contemporary visit but ended up learning a lot about the construction of the city and its institution.


Prices and booking

The hidden history walking tour can be two or more hours. The more time we spend together, the more we’ll see and explore.

Groups can be from two to eight persons, so everybody can see and hear everything.

The price is €30/person for the first two hours, and €10/person for each additional hour.

Children under five can come for free, and children fourteen or younger for €10.

Private tours are minimum €160 for the group. Otherwise separate bookings might be grouped together.

I regularly do Hidden History walks starting at 10am in Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo, and if this will work for you, drop me a message.

If you’re looking for some other time or place, use this link to book an appointment directly into my calendar and I’ll come back to you as soon as possible.