I had planned on visiting Italy, and Venice in particular, later this fall but like many of us, COVID-19 has forced me to change my plans.
Lamenting this fact with some fellow Venetophiles, they shared a little fix for their broken plans (and hearts) by taking a live virtual tour of Venice from the professional tour guide, Luisella Romeo.
What a wonderful opportunity and as a service to all of us who have regrettably had to change our Venetian travels this year, I reached out to Luisella to learn more about her tours – both live and virtual.
Can you give me a quick overview of who you are and your background as a Venetian tour guide?
Born and raised in Venice, I studied at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari foreign languages and literatures graduating on North American Literature. Thanks to a Fulbright Travel grant and to the Exchange Abroad Program offered by the University of California at Berkeley, I continued my studies in the United States. Moving back to Europe I specialized in multimedia publishing with another grant allowing me to do my research at the Fraunhofer Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. I worked in Venice for the publishing house Marsilio Editori on databases of ancient and historical documentation, collaborating with Venetian institutes, such as the State Archive, the National Library and the Querini Stampalia Foundation. I became a tour guide in 2000 and that’s been my profession for the past twenty years. I love this job as it allows me to meet people from all over the world and present them the cultural richness of Venice in the past and present time.
What drew you to become a Venetian tour guide?
I have had too many interests in my life to follow a direct professional path, but by being a guide, all my curiosities and interests have found a single career where they can be expressed and shared. For several years, I have written a couple of blogs and am constantly looking for new ideas to help visitors experience Venice. I love this city very deeply and this is where I chose to live, even if I lived for some time abroad.
What are the top 2-3 most popular tours you lead?
Last year I led several orientation tours, visiting museums such as the Doge’s palace but also a lot of walking tours away from the main tourist areas.
What is your personal favorite tour? And why.
I don’t have a favorite tour, sorry! My focus is on the people I am with, so I ask them first what they would like and try to tailor a tour according to their interests.
How did you come to offer virtual tours of Venice?
This is a set of live webinars for few attendees that I developed during this lockdown. I tried to understand what you could already get online and I was not satisfied. Some virtual tours were more like 3D video games, with no insights, while others were boring webinars with a lot of slides and little interaction. I wanted to create something more engaging and I think my formula now works beautifully. During my live webinars the attendees are very few, and beyond the multimedia content, there’s a lot of conversation where I can answer everyone’s questions. It’s more like a culture club meeting, a salon of intellectually curious people that discuss and share their love for Venice.
As a native Venetian who still lives in the city, what do you feel is its heart and soul?
Venice is a multilayered city, with lots to offer. An international city.
Here is a short video of Luisella speaking about her virtual tours:
If you are interested in participating in one of Luisella’s Tours – virtual or while visiting Venice – here is her website and contact information:
Luisella’s website: www.seevenice.it
Virtual tours: www.seevenice.it/en/virtual-tours/
In-person guided tours: www.seevenice.it/en/experiences-in-venice-with-a-local-guide/