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:

  • 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…

  • Daghe adosso, Nino!

    Daghe adosso, Nino!

    An Austrian admiral giving orders in Venetian, in a naval battle against Italy, which eventually led to Venice becoming Italian

  • 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

September 14, 2020

This is a great tour to learn how to ‘read’ the city: understand the buildings, the squares, the layout of the neighbourhoods and so on. Great to do when you first arrive so you can apply those skills during the rest of the trip!

Erin
September 11, 2020

Hello René, We really enjoyed the historic tour with you. It is impressing how much you know about the history and how much passion you have for the themes . We liked mostly that you not only told but rather really showed us how much the change of time is visible in all the different buildings of the city. Thank you and best regards Nina and Timm

Timm
September 7, 2020

René’s tour is great! I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a history buff, or just wants to know more about the city and get a better sense of it. He has a great storytelling style and the walk is peppered with personal anecdotes that show his attachment and belonging to Venice. I left feeling that i was more connected to the city and am recommending this walk to everyone i know for when they go to Venice. If René does any other experiences I will definitely sign up for them when in Venice!

A

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.