Venicescapes Historical Society

Venicescapes Historical Society

Venicescapes Historical Society
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About
A rolling, graduate-level lecture series delving into world history, religion, architecture, art, politics, economics, shipbuilding, infrastructure, and private culture, with the entire City of Venice as its classroom. Instagram: venicescapes
Venice, Veneto, Italy

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(21 reviews)
(2 reviews)
(2 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles80 reviews
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Molly R
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
If you do not care for the standard large tour experience, and have any interest in art history, history, religion or going off the beaten path, then Veniscapes is for you. We enjoyed two wonderful days with Michael, a scholar with a deep knowledge of Venetian history, politics, art and religion, and a knack for putting what you are seeing into context, so that we found we got so much more out of the visit than we would have by just visiting it ourselves with our guidebook. Highly recommended!
Written November 26, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

randijim
Alameda, CA113 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
This was our fourth visit to Venice. One would think we had seen it all before, but no. Seeing Venice’s through Michael’s scholarly knowledge of the history, art, and architecture is truly a far superior and unforgettable experience. Reading through all 70+ previous reviews will give you a good idea what it’s like walking through Venice with a guide who understands Venice down to the smallest of details. You learn whatever you want to know as Michael is open for any questions and checks to make sure he is covering the things you want to learn about. His encyclopedic knowledge and ability to explain it well enough for a novice to understand is without parallel to this long time world traveler. We booked The Splendors of Piety and Story of a Mercantile Empire and plan to book others in future Venetian visits. You will have a learning experience of a lifetime.
Written August 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandra S
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023
The tour was incredible. Not only did it offer a comprehensive and interesting overview of the rise and fall of Venice – the information shared helped us to enjoy our entire stay in Italy. We both enjoyed it and appreciate the time our guide took with us to provide a memorable experience.
Written July 16, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

7242Roger
Melbourne, Australia1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Solo
Thank you Tripadvisor,
Through your site I was able to enjoy Venice and its amazing history and culture and heritage like I had never believed possible.
Michael Broderick was my guide for the 6 hour " A CITY OF NATIONS TOUR " offered by
" Venicescapes Historical Society "
The tour itself was exactly as the name suggests.." A journey through time ". I was able to see and understand, so much of the history surrounding the many communities that have called, (and in many cases), still do call Venice home. Venice has an amazing history.yet on my previous visit I saw only The Grand Canal, Doges Palace and The Basilica situated on St Marks square. Along with wall to wall tourists.
The History of Venice is as fascinating as it is colorful. Along the way, and far from the hoards of tourists Michael guided me at my own pace through areas that "the foreigners" were allowed to settle, live and trade in. As well as the Churches and Synagogues they pray in. Which included The Germans, The Lucchses, The Jews and The Jewish Ghetto. The Turks. As well as the Armenians, The Dalmatians and The Greeks. So many times I heard and saw things that simply took my breath away. Michael has an incredible knowledge of all things Venice, which he willingly shares. He is one of the very few guides who really exudes the passion he has for Venice, and who happily takes questions along the way. He weaves his own magic which adds to the whole experience.
I personally rated this tour 10/10 which puts it up with the rare few that I could never forget. I am 72, reasonably well traveled and have a minor disability, neither of which were at any time a problem.
For the reader, I have never before felt compelled to write a review good or otherwise. Which I hope gives to you an idea of how great this truly was, for all the senses. I urge all fellow travelers be you solo,family or groups. Do this tour and prepare to be amazed.
Written July 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tripnuts2014
Santa Ana, CA3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Couples
Review of Venicescape Tours
My husband and I have been on all 6 Venicescape tours. We loved everyone of them. They were all very different, and you never felt that you were repeating a lot of the same material. Yet there was a continuity that flowed from one tour to the next. For a first time visitor, we would recommend A STORY OF A MERCANTILE EMPIRE. It opens your eyes to the complex, intriguing and amazing history of this incredible city, setting you up for the other tours to follow. The heart of these tours is your tour guide, Michael Broderick, a more knowledgeable person could not be found. The way he tells the story of this amazing city by weaving together its history, art, religion, politics, and peoples into one big tapestry gives you a never to be forgotten picture of a one of a kind place---Venice.
Written July 22, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jelleric
Seattle, WA14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Couples
We hired B. Michael Broderick, the owner of Venice Tours, to guide us during our whirlwind 2.5-day trip to Venice. It was a brilliant decision, he is absolutely excellent. I cannot imagine, in the future, visiting a world-class city WITHOUT the guidance of a professional tour guide like Michael. We did the big tour ‘History of a mercantile empire’ then decided to add religious art ‘Splendors of piety’ the next day.

Prior to working with Venice Tours, my perception was that tour guiding was not a professional craft, that any city native could give a decent tour. Or that I could conceivably hire a tour guide and request “a tour of Venice architecture” or something like that, and expect the guide to throw something together. That perception is mistaken. Michael has spent a long time constructing his tours to be a complete package.

Prior to Venice, I would never have considered signing up for a six-hour private tour. But we decided to do something ‘crazy’ this time. I know it sounds crazy….six hours on a tour? But it’s not like we are just doing a tour of San Marco basilica and the nearby piazza. It’s a full-on tour of Venice (with as many bathroom and snack breaks as you need….he offers them constantly).

I am an extremely satisfied client.
Written April 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ClovisNY
New York, NY6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014 • Couples
During January, 2014 we took three of Michael Broderick’s Venicescapes tours, each of which went well beyond our expectations and uncovered aspects of Venetian history, art, and cultural life that we could find in no guidebook. We were taken to exceptional venues, some of them normally closed to the public, and were treated to intelligent and informative commentary at every step. Mr. Broderick was extremely solicitous, setting a pace that matched our energy and inviting us to stop for lunch or coffee when a break seemed in order. There was no better way we could have spent our short vacation in Venice.

A hallmark of Michael Broderick’s tours is that while his level of discourse demands reasonably educated listeners, he has a good sense of his audience and never goes above one’s head. One is never left confused, and one is never bored. That said, if you ask for greater complexity, Michael, who is extremely well read in history, art, and theology, is always ready to satisfy your curiosity.

Our First Tour, The Splendors of Piety (largely devoted to Venetian renaissance art) began at the Frari, Venice’s main Franciscan church where Mr. Broderick analyzed paintings that chart the evolution of Venetian art from its earliest days to the famous Assumption by Titian, the artistic centerpiece of the Church.

See http://www.venicescapes.org/guided_walking_tour_of_Venice-religious_life_and_art.htm

We next walked a short distance to the School of S. Roch, where Michael discussed the nature of the various Venetian Scuola. On the walls of the building’s main staircase there are ghastly murals of plague outbreaks. There is also an abundance of great Tinterettos arranged according to a scheme of patristic exegesis, which Michael explicated for us. At our next venue, the Dominican church of SS John and Paul, Michael framed an informative comparison between Franciscan and Dominican approaches to art.

For anyone interested in art, especially the interplay between religion and art, this tour, The Splendors of Piety, is exceptionally valuable.

Our Second Tour, Venice: Story of a Mercantile Empire, began at a small factory that builds and repairs gondolas and other flat-bottomed boats. Here we learned, through observation of two gondolas under construction, why these famous craft go straight when, propelled by a single oar, they should logically go in circles.

See http://www.venicescapes.org/guided_walking_tour_of_Venice-history_and_urban_development.htm

Next, Michael explained the engineering dynamics of Venetian cisterns, using an existing cistern-head as an example. After a break at a café, where we were given background for the remainder of the tour, we moved on to the site of Marco Polo’s house, and then to the Grand Canal where the first part of this tour ended with an explanation of the engineering infrastructure of the great houses that line this famous waterway.

The second part of this tour began at the fifteenth-century Palazzo Pisani-Moretta, one of the most significant residences along the Grand Canal, and generally closed to the public. As we sat in a luxurious drawing room, Michael took us through the history of the Pisani family, which mirrors the history of mercantile Venice. My wife’s MBA came in handy at points, especially in relationship to early Venetian hedge funds.

We next took a Vaporetto the Arsenal, which cannot be entered as it continues to this day as a military installation. Michael discussed in detail the operation of this facility during the renaissance: the world’s first assembly line—for war galleys. Our last stop for the day, the Church of the Salute, the large-domed basilica that one sees across the Grand Canal from Harry’s Bar, has always seemed unremarkable to us. Michael made the church come alive, placing it in the context of several plagues that had ravaged the city.

Our Third Tour, A City of Nations, focused on foreigners in Venice from the middle ages to the present day.

See http://www.venicescapes.org/guided_walking_tour_of_Venice-foreigners_and_ethnic_communities.htm

This tour proved as interesting as the first two, the highlight for us being the Greek Cathedral, normally closed to the public. We were warmly welcomed by the pastor, who lit the church and left us on our own with Michael who took us though the history and significance of several of the Icons and frescoes. Michael’s talk, delivered in the stunningly beautiful environment of this Byzantine church, gave us a new perspective on the creation of Icons and the bloody struggles that evolved regarding their adoration.

Before we parted, Michael asked which of the three tours we liked best. My immediate response was that I felt like a college freshman who had wandered into three superb courses and couldn’t decide which one to take. My wife was more decisive in her judgment, noting that the first tour, The Splendors of Piety, stood out for its excellent and compressed elucidation of Venetian painting. She placed Venice, Story of a Mercantile Empire second, probably because she had spent seventeen years working on Wall Street. If I had to be as decisive as she, I would probably also put The Splendors of Piety at the top of the list, but I would place A City of Nations second, for its wide range. We look forward to future tours with Michael Broderick.
Written February 25, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

onemorechance
So Cal36 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Family
My wife, our two daughters and I visited Venice in early November and signed up for Michael's Mercantile tour over the course of two days. This is a 6 hour tour that we broke up into 2 three hour sessions.

Michael was very accommodating provided us with an insiders view of Venice. Michael's passion for Venice is evident and his command of the history of Venice is amazing. I have to say, we remembered more from Michael's tour than the other 4 tours we took throughout Italy.

Michael made the history come alive as we walked through areas we'd probably never see on our own including a private tour of a former palace. My two daughters (in their twenties) who are not history buffs were actually very engaged on Michael's presentation.

I would highly recommend this tour. Expensive but really worth it.

I'd also suggest giving yourself time to walk from your hotel. Private water taxis add up quickly...and in my opinion not worth the expense.

In summary, we came away with a far deeper appreciation for Venice and really enjoyed visiting the city in early November. Michael's tour was the key part of our tour.
Written January 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ConnieHoward
Palo Alto, CA5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Solo
For me, anyway, Venice is a lot of things: a super model well past her prime, yet still dazzling, confusing, fun, and completely opaque. Or, a lot of dots that connect a lot of times, places, people, events, and ideas. It's easy to wander around, get lost, and fall in love with the city. Or, you can take one of the hundreds of tours where someone drones on about which century, which doge, which artist, which architect, after which, you'll be about where you started. Venice is enchanting, but inscrutable, if you want to do anything more than wander around, eat, and maybe hop in a gondola.

I wanted to understand 18th century Venice in a way that I couldn't get from a book. The search terms "walking tour," "18th century," and "Venice" led me to Venicescapes. After exploring the website, I decided that I wanted to take "The Age of Decadence," "A City of Nations," and "A Most Serene Republic," over one Thanksgiving week, in November, 2011. And that's what I did.

I met Michael Broderick for "City of Nations," one cold November morning at the top of the Rialto Bridge. We started in immediately, looking at the German Exchange and heading over to the Ghetto. By the time we were done, I had a good working knowledge of immigrants and minorities in the city. He opened my eyes to things I'd never thought about. "The Age of Decadence" a few days later, was marvelous too, and completely different. He took me to sights I'd never have seen on my own, and talked about topics that I knew nothing about. His take on the 18th century was well researched as well as fun. "A Most Serene Republic" was enough to explode my brain, but not Michael's! After that first trip, I had a real grasp of the city. He propelled me forward in my personal quest to find out more about the city.

Since then, I've returned to Venice four times. Each time, I've met up with Michael and taken at least one tour. I've taken all that are available, and several of them twice, because there is so much depth that I can always learn more. Do I have a personal favorite? Hard to say. They're all really good.

Michael's approach is interdisciplinary, because the real story is never just about one thing--it's more than just art, or politics, or trade, or religion, or anything else. It's how all of these factors work together to create a moment in time. A Venicescape, if you will.

Would I recommend his approach to Venice? Absolutely! But be ready to see a different place once you're finished with your tour, a real place with real people who wrestled with the same kinds of problems that we wrestle with today: immigration, diversity, government, warfare, the military-industrial complex, geopolitics, religion, lifestyle, fashion, art, trade, finance, entertainment, religion, diplomacy--all that and more.

If I haven't scared you off, go visit the website and pick an interesting tour or two. Then, get to Venice, put on your walking shoes and get ready to crack the Venice code with Michael. I think you'll be knocked out, just like I was!
Written January 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

whiteshadow
cape coral florida277 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Couples
Venicescapes is a learning experience with a master educator focusing on historical "themes"
and then pursuing, opening, visiting, and discussing the "themes" by a process incorporating the
art, architecture,documents of the city of Venice, and the city itself, coupled with the insight and
the critical discussion of your instructor, Michael, whom you will come to know on a first name
basis. Works of " art " are creatively and accurately used to instruct, evaluate and consider the
circumstances of Venice religion, history, manners and thought as well as the city's very
existence. No matter how many times you have visited Venice and no matter how much you
thought you knew about the city you will leave being affected, yes affected in a way one could
not have anticipated. My wife and I spent three half-days with Michael under his tutelage. So, so
sorry we did not schedule more time. He is a teacher and as such I am sure that he would be
able to bring Venice alive also to groups of students with a desire to learn. This was money well
spent.
Written October 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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