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
October 30, 2020

Excellent experience off the beaten tracks of conventional guided tours in Venice. René’s tour will offer you a vivid and well-achieved combination of funded historical knowledge and its routing within Venice’s fascinating microcosmos.

Rated 5 out of 5
October 18, 2020

René is a very nice guy who certainly knows what he is doing. By showing small objects on the historic buildings and squares (e.g. antique graffiti that you normally would not notice) he explains the history and everyday life of Venice and the Venetians. He is very well structured (you can tell he is a trained historian) and puts everything he explains into the historic perspective. I do recommend a tour with him, especially if you want to go off the beaten track (e.g. the more residential areas of historic Venice). At the end of the tour René suggested a fantastic restaurant that we wouldn’t have found ourselves.

Rated 5 out of 5
October 17, 2020

Esperienza diversa dai soliti itinerari turistici. Tantissima storia e aneddoti interessanti su Venezia!”


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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