Insider's Guide to Venice

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4.5 star rating: Recommended 198 Reviews

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  • Location:Venice, Italy
  • Duration:2 hours (approx.)

Hidden Venice Half-Day Walking Tour

Discover the side of Venice that many visitors don’t see on a leisurely paced, 2-hour walking tour, packed with historical anecdotes, quirky stories and little-known facts. With a local guide, knowledgeable about Venice’s past, you'll explore the Rialto, Carampane and San Polo neighborhoods. Learn of the Venetian ‘courtesans’ as you walk through the historical red light district; see a palace where tax evaders were once imprisoned (outside only); and visit the Frari church to see Renaissance art by Giovanni Bellini, Antonio Canova and Tiziano Vecellio (aka Titian).


  • 2-hour walking tour of hidden Venice with a knowledgeable local guide
  • Discover the history-rich parts of Venice that many visitors don’t get to see
  • Visit the old artisan quarters of the Rialto area and the historical red light district in Carampane
  • Hear quirky stories about the Venetian courtesans of bygone days and stop for photos on the Ponte delle Tette
  • See Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, a former prison for tax evaders in the San Polo neighborhood
  • Visit the Frari church and admire Renaissance artwork by Bellini, Canova and Titian

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Hidden Venice Half-Day Walking Tour

See the lesser-known sights of Venice on a walking tour!

Meet your local guide on Rialto Bridge, and set off on your walking tour of Venice. Start with a stroll through the old artisan quarters of the city, better known as the Rialto, an area that surrounds the Grand Canal. Historically and presently Venice’s main trade area, the Rialto is a bustling district, ever-popular with visitors, traders and locals alike.

After a glimpse of Venice’s hectic side, follow your guide through the labyrinth of enchanting streets and narrow passageways that so many visitors fail to discover. Pass time-worn old bars where merchants have relaxed for centuries, and pass through the so-called ‘castelleto’ area in Carampane, a historical red light district, where Venetian courtesans once worked the streets.

Hear about these well-heeled and independent women, as well as their questionable morals, and learn of famous and intellectual courtesans such as Veronica Franco, a poet who counted literates and other eminent Italians as her friends. Stop for photos on the naughtily nicknamed Ponte delle Tette (Bridge of Tits), and hear how its name was given after the courtesans who were encouraged to model topless, touting their ‘wares,’ on the canals.

Pass Palazzo dei Camerlenghi in the San Polo neighborhood, and hear how the beautiful Renaissance palace was once a feared prison for tax evaders. In between viewing quirky sites around the area, learn about Venice in days of old and what life is like today for modern-day Venetians.

Your walking tour finishes with a visit to the Frari church, one of the city’s true lesser-known gems. Tucked away on an unassuming San Polo side street, the Gothic building is home to fascinating artwork by Bellini, Canova and Titian — three of the most influential Italian artists of the High Renaissance period. Pay your entrance fee, and step inside the church to marvel at the art for the last half hour of your tour.

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Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Wonderful! Wonderful! Our guide was wonderful,moo! Sadly, I do not remember her name because I want to give her a shout out. You guys behind the scenes, check out who she was and please give her a shout out for us. We loved the market and our guide was most generous with her impressions and recommendations. Very much fun! Venice is so wonderful!

Carmela M
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Excellent tour. Guide very entertaining and informative. I have been to Venice several times and found it really interesting seeing areas that were off the beaten track. Lina Glasgow.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Great guide very interesting prompt on time very knowledgeable will definitely recommend and use again

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Our guide took us to some really out-of-the-way places where there were NO crowds. Very interesting time. Learned a lot of unusual facts.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

This tour is very informative and you see another side to Venice. I thinks its a must if you want to see another side to Venice and understand some of its history.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

This was a small group, 8 people so no need for headsets. Tour guide was wonderful, took us away from crowds, back alleys to areas we would not normally go or see. If you don't like history, don't go. Wife and I both loved it.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

We were very happy with this tour and we were especially delighted with our guide, she was very knowledgable and passed on some very interesting facts regarding Venice to us.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

Fascinating tour. The guide was excellent and very helpful. Finishing at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari with all it's art treasures was great way to end the tour. Thoroughly recommended.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

A little overlap from previous day- not area or what we viewed but history. It really was execllent- would have preferred a little smaller group.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

Definitely a great tour, walked tons so be sure to wear comfortable shoes, great knowledge from guide, very prepared and yet interesting

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Tour code: 2635SP


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