Venice
Walking Tours

5 historical facts to take on your Venice walking tour

Venice might be better known for its canals, but don't forget to explore its winding streets for what many might consider a local's perspective. Here are five fun facts to bear in mind.

  • Many of the streets are accidental

    1. Many of the streets are accidental

    Venetian houses tend to face the canal, so many of its haphazard streets arose simply as gaps between buildings. The narrowest is Ramo Varisco, at only 53cm wide!

  • The church towers have many talents

    2. The church towers have many talents

    Venice's church towers, or "campanili," do more than just sound the hour - they've historically also been used as lighthouses and fire guard stations.

  • Venice has over 400 bridges

    3. Venice has over 400 bridges

    Think you won't see enough of Venice's canals on a walking tour? Think again! The city has 431 bridges to traverse. The Rialto Bridge dates back to the 16th century.

  • It only recently got its first female gondolier...

    4. It only recently got its first female gondolier...

    Despite having over 400 gondoliers in a tradition that dates back centuries, Venice didn't get a female gondolier until 2010!

  • ...But the first woman to graduate was a Venetian

    5. ...But the first woman to graduate was a Venetian

    Visit the Palazzo Loredan to see the birthplace of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, who, in 1678, received a Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Padua.

Planning Your Visit

  • Can I combine a walking tour and gondola ride?

    Walking tours are a great way to see the city, but it wouldn't be Venice without a ride along the city's canals. Fortunately there are several walking and gondola tour combination packages to choose from, with prices starting from €43.

  • How do the free tours work?

    If you're visiting Venice on the cheap then you might choose to opt for a free walking tour. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a catch! Remember your guide does this for a living so bring some cash in order to pay what you think it was worth at the end. If you don't, be prepared to shuffle away sheepishly!

Other Sightseeing Options in Venice

Want to discover all there is to do in Venice? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Venice

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 13,802 reviews

Mattia was great! It was as if our favourite nephew took us on an extensive, 6-hour-tour of the city where he lives and studies: Very personal, friendly and relaxed. The weather was terrible, it rained hard and was very windy. No Venetian would even leave the house in this weather, but Mattia kept going, showing us hidden treasures and even took us to the rooftop terrace of the house where he lives! At our request, we stopped twice in typical local bacari for a drink and a bite to eat, and he suggested fantastic places for that. It is just worth pointing out that this isn't a tour with an official local tourist guide. We didn't mind as it gave us a very personal experience, but I think it should be pointed out in the description of the tour.

This is an excellent tour to have an overall introduction to Murano, Burano, and Torcello, without diving too deep into the details of each island. Perfect if you have never visited them and want to get an idea, less suitable if you want to gain in-depth knowledge about them. We were a small group, so the company booked a taxi, which was an absolute treat. Great first time to the Lagoon Islands, our favourite was Burano (we got covid masks with handmade lace! So stylish). Live demonstrations of glass blowing and lace making are included. The guide was approachable and knowledgeable, keeping us on time without making us feel rushed.

Great tour to popular as well as less frequented areas in Venice along with interesting background stories (at bit more murder stories might be good though). Definitely gave us a better understanding of the long history of this city. Plus our guide, Anna-Maria, had an answer for every question.

It's a great way to explore the city on your own without reading a lot. You will learn about the most important facts and history of the features sites. I only wish the speaker would speak faster (only tried the German version though).

The guide was friendly, well informed and organized. This tour is amazing for people who want to be advised in historical facts about the buildings and life of the people of Venice.