Hidden History in plain sight – unseen Venice

Ancient graffitti at the entrace of the hospital in Venice

Anywhere you look in Venice, 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.

The mysterius hooks on the wall at San Canciano

Coats of arms on a bridge in Venice

Ancient graffitti at the entrace of the hospital in Venice

Byzantine art on the walls in Venice

Byzantine art on the walls in Venice

What others said

Rated 5 out of 5
September 22, 2020

It was the best thing we did in Venice. We booked the tour on our first full day and afterwards, the insight we learned from Rene were used throughout our 4 days vacation. I’m a history nerd and his account and survey of Venice were accurate. Moreover, Rene was very passionate and his encyclopedic and street knowledge makes him an excellent companion to walk around this amazing city.

Rated 5 out of 5
September 22, 2020

Excellent tour. Highly recommended. Rene is hugely knowledgeable, erudite and gifted with impressive language skills. He has lived in Venice for decades so his knowledge is imparted with passion and dedication to the subject.

Rated 5 out of 5
September 21, 2020

Great experience to understand Venice in a way the guide books don’t tell you. I booked on the wrong day and Rene was very lovely in coming as soon as he heard. Great trip.


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.