- A scholarly day in Venice, highlighted by a tour of St Mark’s Basilica and an exploration of Venice’s urban development and multicultural history
- Led by Matteo, archaeologist and Venice private guide
- Basilica San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Venice Jewish Synagogue, and Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Matteo holds a B.A. in Cultural Heritage Preservation and an M.A. in Archaeology, both from the University Ca' Foscari, Venezia. He chose to specialize in Islamic archaeology due to his personal passion and curiosity for Islamic culture, fostered by his acquaintance with that specific area of the world. Matteo became a qualified tour guide for the City of Venice in 2009, and he has been collaborating with Context since then.
Languages: Italian, English and Spanish.
Inspired Itinerary: The Origins of Venice and its Multicultural History
On this full-day itinerary, you will cross the entire city from the southern waterfront to the northern district–from the central St. Mark’s Square to the peripheral Jewish ghetto–switching between world-famous buildings and hidden gems of Venetian architecture. This itinerary encompasses a number of venues that will enable Matteo to discuss his two favorite topics: the urban development of Venice and the multiculturalism of this trading city through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Participants will hear the story of a group of villages that rose into one of the richest cities in the Mediterranean Sea, discover the basics of Venetian architecture, and develop an understanding of the important role foresti (immigrants and expats) played in shaping Venice.
The day will start in St. Mark’s Square with a general introduction to its development and the famous buildings surrounding it: The Doge’s Palace, the Marciana Library, and St. Mark’s Basilica. This church will be the core of your visit since Matteo will take you through the naves and into the presbytery, in front of the famous Pala d’Oro – a unique Byzantine altarpiece – and finally explore the museum, located at the upper level of the basilica. From there you will enjoy two stunning views: the interior of the central hall and the vast space of the square outside.
After the basilica you will leave the political heart of Venice and stroll toward Rialto, the city's economical heart. After a short coffee break, you will meander through narrow alleys where Matteo will point out the area where the Armenian community used to live, the street where the Medieval blacksmiths held their activity, and the waterfront where metal and coal were once unloaded. Finally, the Rialto Bridge will appear in all of its magnificence and elegance.
Upon reaching the Rialto area, you will enter the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Once a public warehouse for Germanic merchants and now a luxury mall, this huge building was a vital point of trade in Venice and it is crucial in understanding the importance of water-based logistics in this environment. Weather permitting, a visit to the modern rooftop terrace of the Fondaco will provide an unforgettable experience.
After crossing the Rialto Bridge, you will spend some time in the charming atmosphere of the daily market, where the various stands present a colorful variety of fruit and vegetables, both local and from other Italian regions, as well as a large selection of fish and shellfish. This will be the perfect spot for your lunch break, savoring bites of typical Venetian cuisine, such as the sarde in saor (marinated sardines) or pasta with seafood.
After lunch, you will cross the Grand Canal on a local gondola ferry and then walk through the neighborhood of Cannaregio toward the Jewish ghetto. This first official “Jewish compound” was established in 1516 and it is steeped in history and cultural activity. Here you will have the chance to visit one of the synagogues still used by the local community. With the time remaining, Matteo will lead you to the discovery of other hidden gems of the neighborhood, such as Campo dei Mori and the Palace of the Camel, or the Scuola Grande della Misericordia, where once again you will realize what a modern and multicultural city Venice has become.
Does Context offer Pre-Travel seminars about Venice?
Where do we meet? Where does it end?
Matteo's full-day itinerary in Venice will meet at St. Mark's Square and end near the Jewish Ghetto. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to be prepared; we encourage keeping an eye on the weather and bringing along an umbrella, sunscreen, water, or a hat as needed.
Originally from Venetian mainland, Matteo has lived in different countries, which sparked his interest in art history and archaeology. He holds a B.A. in Cultural Heritage Preservation and an M.A. in Archaeology - specializing in Islamic Archaeology - from the University Ca' Foscari, Venezia. Matteo chose to specialize in Islamic Archaeology, due to his personal passion and curiosity for the Islamic World: this particular interest was developed after several travels and stays in different Middle Eastern countries. He has worked as a freelance archaeologist following projects in different locations of the Veneto Region in Italy and in Cairo, Egypt. Matteo became a qualified tourist guide for the City of Venice in 2009, and he has been collaborating with Context since then.