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
October 17, 2020

René was definitely knowledgeable of the area. He shared a lot of history that we would have missed. I appreciated the book you brought and used for illustration purposes for my younger children (and for me… haha). It was a nice start to our weekend trip.

Rated 5.0 out of 5
October 12, 2020

Rene’s tour was amazing! It gave us a much deeper and richer appreciation for Venice and it’s history to see the “history in plain sight” that Rene pointed out to us! Plus this tour was so worth it, easily the best value for our money in Venice. Rene was relaxed and genuinely eager to share stories and bits of history with us. Recommend resting before bc it is a decent amount of standing and walking! The 2pm one is perfect bc you can go just as lunch spots close.

Rated 5.0 out of 5
October 9, 2020

Es war eine besondere Geschichtstour, die so viele Details gezeigt hat, die mir nie aufgefallen wären. Ich war beeindruckt von Renés Entdeckungslust und die offenbare Liebe und Begeisterung zu Venedig! Es war regelrecht ansteckend und hat Spaß gemacht! Durch seine Einblicke in diese besondere Stadt, konnten wir auch anschließend mit ganz anderen Augen beobachten und einen viel innigeren Zugang zu Venedig finden. Vielen Dank dafür!


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.