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. Ancient 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 guidebooks.

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 guidebooks, 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 the subjects we might cover on a hidden history walk:

  • Prostitution in Venice

    Prostitution in Venice

    In ancient Venice prostitution was considered a necessary evil, where more harm would come from a ban than from a…

  • Long live the doge

    Long live the doge

    Viva il doge – Long live the doge – the writing on the wall celebrating the election of Andrea Gritto…

  • The Fall of Venice

    The Fall of Venice

    The fall of Venice on May 12th, 1797, was the result of a war that the Republic of Venice formally…

What others said

July 16, 2021

I can highly recommend this tour if you want to discover more about Venice and it’s history. René has a deep knowledge of the subject and you can feel his enthusiasm. The walking part of the tour is rather short but it helps you to see Venice with a “trained” eye, which will help you to appreciate the different faces of the city even more than without the tour. I recommend taking the tour if you spend more than just one or two days in Venice in order to enjoy what you’ve learned when walking through the city.

July 13, 2021

This was a very interesting tour in a part of Venice that didn’t seem so touristy, so it was also a great way to explore a new area. Rene is filled with information and he is also very funny. He answered all my questions and even kept pointing out details after the tour ended as he showed me and the other group member our way to our next stop. You definitely pick up on things you would walk by without thinking about, and a few details will stick out to you the rest of your time in Venice.

July 13, 2021

René is very knowledgable and has so many interesting stories to tell. I feel like I got to know the city in a way I could never have done on my own. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a more in-depth tour.


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.

Group tours

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

The price for group tours 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

Private tours are minimum €160 for the group. Otherwise, they’re priced as above.

A private tour can start at a time and place of your choosing.

You only pay for a private tour if you request a private tour.

Meeting place and time

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.