Architecture Tour of Venice

Explore the history of Venice through it's buildings, squares and canals
From US$523 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Rialto Neighborhood
  • St. Mark's Square
  • Campo San Giovanni e Paolo
  • Campo Santa Maria Formosa
Photos & Highlights
  • Experience an exploration on how Venetian architecture has evolved from antiquity to today, along with the key influence of Carlo Scarpa
  • Led by an architectural history expert
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Tour Description
Venice's architecture is unlike that of anywhere else in the world—owing, of course, to its natural context. Everything is built on stilts in the middle of a lagoon. In this Venice architecture tour we'll join a local architect or historian for an in-depth look at how Venetian architecture has evolved from antiquity to today, applying a critical eye to how the city has developed from such implausible origins. This is an excellent walking tour of Venice not only for people with an interest in architecture, but also for generalists looking to more fully comprehend the city.

"Sensational. The Architecture of Venice, which we had to ourselves, was really impressive both for me (who's been to the city many times) and for my boys, who lapped up our guide's every word."

Venice Architecture Tour

We'll begin our tour in Piazza San Marco, the political seat of Venice, with a discussion of the first settlement in the Venetian lagoon and the subsequent rise to power of the Venetian Republic.  We will spend our time dissecting the form and function of these immense structures and their importance in glorifying the Venetian Republic to the outside world.  We will then meander toward Campo San Zaccaria, where we will have the chance to discuss the mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles of this unusual church complex.  Next on our tour is Campo Santa Maria Formosa, where we'll learn about the role of public and private spaces in historic Venice and see the modern interventions of Carlo Scarpa on the 16th century Palazzo Querini-Stampalia.  We will also fit in a visit to Campo San Giovanni e Paolo to admire the Gothic church and stop for a coffee or gelato.

For a more general overview of Venice from the water try our Venice Boat Tour.

Walking Tour of Venice

We will then make our way toward the Rialto to explore architecture in the historic commercial and trade district, from the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, former storehouse and lodging for German merchants turned post office (and now upscale shopping mall), to the bridge itself.  For a significant part of the city's history, this was the only bridge across the Grand Canal, the current structure being the third incarnation. 

Take Aways

By the end of our time together, we will not only have marveled at the opulence of Venetian architecture but will have developed a deeper appreciation for the forces that have shaped the nature of the city, as well as the feats of engineering necessary to sustain these structures for hundreds of years.

For those looking to dig deeper into the technical challenges of keeping Venice afloat, see our Ecology of Venice Tour.
Where You'll Start
(4.77) 133 Reviews

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Andrea gave us a fantastic tour! We learned so much about the history and architecture of Venice and saw details we would never have discovered on our own. Highly recommend!
Andrea is an excellent choice for anyone interested in the history of Venice. He gave us an excellent introduction to Venice away from the obvious tourists stops. We booked the tour to discover the hidden gems away from the throngs of tourists that populate Venice. He showed us the working neighborhoods of old Venice and explained their evolution and who lived in them. We stopped at multiple churches; each had their own unique story. For example, one was an ode to a noble family's vanity and another offered relief to the homeless in death. Each building's purpose was visible in its decoration. Andrea was able to explain that iconography and the story of Venice's Golden Era.
Matteo was wonderful. He tailored aspects of the tour to suit our interests, and answered our questions about various aspects of Venetian architecture, history and contemporary life in a deeply considered way. We really enjoyed our time and learnt so much. Would highly recommend!