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 20, 2020

The walking tour was EXCELLENT, probably the best one I’ve ever taken in any city. René didn’t take us to the obvious sights, but explained the Venetian history and architecture through more hidden sights and regular buildings that you usually just walk by. His depth of knowledge is incredible and you can tell it’s his profession and passion at the same time. Would recommend for anyone interested in history and stories off the beaten path!

Rated 5 out of 5
September 15, 2020

This was such an amazing tour. Rene pretty much knows everything and anything about Venice, any questions we had he answered in great detail and was just a generally amazing tour guide. This made our last day in Venice so special, please do this tour and be as amazed as we were! From Finn & Sophie

Rated 5 out of 5
September 14, 2020

We’ve been several times in Venice, but with Rene we saw and understood the hidden history and had a magnificent and individual experience, which was worth every penny. Our three hour tour was both exciting and interesting and went over in no time. Rene has an incredible knowledge about history in general and especially of Venetian history. He may not just answer ‘every’ question by telling dates and facts; instead he’ll start showing a salty stone or a hidden graffiti and explaining from there on links between history and today.


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.