Eleonora Penzo

Eleonora Penzo
Language: English, Italian, Spanish
: +39 3497511915
License: Venice (2013)
Altra abilitazione: Tour manager

I live it, you’ll love it.

Telling people about the history of my town is a privilege, and every single tour is a little mission to me.

This mission is trying to make people feel like locals rather than visitors. Venice is a many-sided place, and to have a proper insight on its identity we should know about all these different sides. Not just the history, art, architecture, but also the relationship Venice has with the lagoon environment, its everyday social dynamics, and its frailties too. I like thinking of Venice as a puzzle:  if you miss one piece you will have just a partial vision of the final picture.

What I try to do with my job is to convey to people not just my historical and artistic knowledge, but above all the personal experience of someone born and raised here, in order to get together to the final picture of the puzzle.

Venice in not just that stunning whole of palaces, churches and monuments that everybody knows. Venice is first of all a town which lives.

My background

Venice: if I close my eyes I cannot imagine myself in any other place. I was born ad raised here, namely in a small island called Giudecca, a long and narrow strip of land stretching on a canal which faces the whole southern side of the town. And it’s here where I still live.

When I finished high school I set on studying foreign languages at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, where I got a Master degree in 2007. My interest in  foreign languages and the deep love for my city led me to qualify as a tour leader in 2008. This job has been a great opportunity, which allowed me to interact with people from other countries and to learn from different cultures.
In 2013 I finally fulfilled my dream and I got the licence of qualified tourist guide of the city of Venice.
Since I started this new adventure I never stopped studying, and I always tried to improve my knowledge of the history and art of this city, which never fails to be a boundless source of both beauty and modernity.
During my free time I like travelling. I love music, cinema, photography and in summer I love sailing on my boat in the lagoon.

My advice

Venice has almost 30 million visitors a year, therefore I am fairly aware how important is to propose alternative routes to avoid the crowd, trying to find a bit of that magic this city can give. If it is your fist time in Venice you cannot skip the Doge’s palace, the ancient government building of the most Serene Republic,  and Saint Mark’s cathedral with its overwhelming covering of golden mosaics.
But if you have some more days, do not miss the chance of exploring the unbeaten path in search of the most genuine places. Venice offers an incredible variety of both architectonic and artistic treasures.

The Scuole Grandi, for example, were lay confraternities of vital importance for the Venetian Republic. These social institutions were peculiarly Venetian, having no comparison in any other town in Italy. Their members gathered in sumptuous buildings which have remained intact in all their architectural splendour. Among them, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Scuola dei Carmini have preserved the amazing works of two outstanding masters of the Venetian painting: Jacopo Tintoretto and Gianbattista Tiepolo.

Would you rather prefer to jump into the libertine Venice of Giacomo Casanova and the courtesans?
In such a cosmopolitan town as Venice was, with foreign visitors coming and going, prostitution was fairly allowed and sometimes even promoted. Besides the trade of spices, salt and silk, a considerable amount of wealth came from what today we should call tourism. Venice secured a great amount of relics with the aim of drawing more and more visitors. However, businessmen and pilgrims did not live just on spiritual things, and prostitution flourished.
We will start the tour in Rialto, where from the first half of fourteenth century the courtesans where forced to live in a quarter called “Castelletto”. The courtesans also lived in dwellings owned by the Rampani noble family. These estates were called Ca’ Rampani (Ca’ is short for casa/house), and this area today is known as Carampane.
We will also talk about female emancipation. Walking along the Grand Canal we will stop by the Corner Piscopia palace, where Elene Lucrezia Corner Piscopia, the first woman to get a university degree, was born.
Finally, we will head to San Samuele, in Dorsoduro district, to see the native places of a key figure of the affairs and intrigues in eighteenth-century Venice: Mr Giacomo Casanova.