Hidden history

Hidden History in plain sight – unseen Venice

A history walk around Venice, exploring the many messages from Venice of yore, often hidden in plain view.

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
The mysterius hooks on the wall at San Canciano

Coats of arms on a bridge in Venice
Coats of arms on a bridge in Venice
Ancient graffitti at the entrace of the hospital 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
Byzantine art on the walls in Venice
Byzantine art on the walls in Venice

What others said

Rated 5 out of 5
July 7, 2021

Above and beyond expectation! We’ve done many historical tours, but René’s was truly exceptional! He has a true passion for his métier and goes way beyond the standard Venice history trip. A true historian that can link ancient to contemporary sociology-economic and political history to every inch of the city. And anything else that may interest you 🙂 He is humble, professional, fun and flexible to accommodate any special requests. A truly perfect way to kick-off a Venice adventure! With his insights you will spot endless details that otherwise you would walk past. Anything from ancient graffiti, security markers, revolutionary building structures, geological and climate effects, political organizers,… fascinating! No matter if you are an absolute history beginner of well versed in the literature, you will certainly be mind blown! Don’t hesitate for a second to book René’s tour!

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 28, 2021

René connaît très bien sont sujet, il est passionné et passionnant. Son style atypique est spontané et fascinant. C’est un guide parfait pour les gens flexibles et curieux.


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 €25/person for the first two hours, and €10/person for each additional hour.

You can use the form below to request the hidden history tour and I’ll write you back as soon as I can.

Please remember requested start time, duration and any particular wishes, such as where to meet or go.
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