Raffaele Paier

Raffaele on the left

Ciao! My name is Raffaele and I was born in this splendid and unique town: Venice.
When I was young boy I loved fighter planes and, at the age of twenty, I left my home town to attend the Flight Accademy to become a pilot of the italian Air Force.
I resigned in 1977 and decided to set up family and to have children in my home town.

I passed from the exclusive breed of “PLANE DRIVERS” to the much commoner one of “GROUP DRIVER”.

In fact I graduated with honors in ART HISTORY in Venice, and passed the exam to guide groups in this town. I’VE BEEN DOOING IT SINCE 1982.

I’m very much interested in symbols and in old languages such as latin, greek and hebrew.

My doctoral thesis on the Pavements of the St. Mark’s Cathedral, a twenty year old research of mine, has been published in 2011 and revealed itself to be a book with an original hypothesis on the well known geometrical figures of the venetian – bizantine church of St. Mark’s: the so called opus sectile.

pavimento san marcoThe reason why I wanted to have my site in the Net is because, after a twenty year long lecturing experience, I think I found the most satisfactory answer for many of the mysteries one can come across in Venice.
When I passed the Venice guide examination to get the license, I was sure to be at the top of the hill: I was ready to answer any of the academic and most tricky questions.
The problem was that nobody cared about them!

Everybody was much more interested in uderstanding the simple historical facts, the meaning of words we use everyday, the why of this or that. Everybody had many questions for me!
In particular, what really impressed me, was the capacity of the foreigners to pick up details, the ones a native generally, doesn’t even take into any account, because his eyes are used to see but not to look.


Here’s a list of some of the questions that first put me in trouble:

1 – Why has got the lion of St. Mark wings?17228964
I knew that the lion was the symbol of the Evangelist, but the wings…

2 – Why four horses (quadriga) over the entrance to a christian church?
Where it was looted from, it symbolized the Apollo’s chariot…

3 – Why is St. Mark’s a centrally planned building and not basilica?
It’s more similar to St. Sophia in Istanbul, rather than to a western church!

4 – What’s the difference between a basilica and a cathedral?
The former refers to the buildind, the latter to the function

5 – Why is the venetian architecture so full of openings?
The Doge’s Palace was called by one of my clients a swiss cheese!

6 – Why did Venetians steal the relics of St. Mark?
It was terribly right! The verb was quite strange, wasn’t it!
Don’t you expect me to give you the answers!!! Now you’ve got a good reason to call me, don’t you…


veneziaAdapting each single lecture to my customers, I widened my knowledge, because everybody was different in sensibility, background, studies, experience.
After all these years, I can really say that my clients helped me in appreciating my hometown, because I’ve seen it with their eyes in a million different ways.

So this is the core: I can offer tours suited to the people I guide!

The rest depends on you… time available, your interests, the sights you intend to visit and, of course, your longing to be guided by a local well versed guide. If so, please check out my “TOURS” on the “MENU” list.

And then let me welcome you and introduce you to the city I love. You will too.