In this blog series, we get up close and personal with some of Walks’ guides around the world, showcasing some of the amazing people who take Walks with us from Rome to New York. Along with our Tours from Home, we hope this blog series will add another bit of travel inspiration to your life – hearing from the men and women who inspire us and Walks guests around the world!
An avid historian, Mose Viero is someone who sees the world through the lens of art, believing that every painting and monument throughout history tells a unique story about times gone by. In this post we hear Mose’s take on everything from Venice’s politcal past to some of his favourite places to visit in the world, outside of his beloved home city of Venice.
Mose, tell us a little about yourself
I was born in Vicenza and I’ve lived in Venice since 2010. I studied art history without exactly knowing what I would have done with it – tried to become a professor at the university, but the process was way too long and I was impatient. So I tried to become a guide, and so far I’m loving it. As time went by, I became more and more interested in politics and economy. Now what I try to do with my tours is to use the art and monuments as the ‘text’ from which I show the consequences of political and economic choices. I also spend a lot of time with my nerdy hobbies: board games, video games and Lego bricks.
What’s your favourite story to tell guests on your tours?
As mentioned above, during tours I love to explain history through monuments and art. The hundreds of portraits of different politicians belonging to different families that you meet in the Doge’s Palace, for example, tells you that Venice has never been a ‘classic’ monarchy or lordship. Power here has always been split among many families – a direct consequence of an economy based on trade rather than agriculture. What you earn from commerce is ‘mobile’ wealth that is going to keep spreading itself in the society, whereas if power lays simply in land property it stays in a few families forever. The advanced political system of the Republic of Venice therefore was not a philosophical choice, but was the effect of a different type of economy, compared with the rest of Italy.
What’s your favourite piece of art of all-time?
The trade-based economy of the Republic had major effects also on the arts. The frequent contact with the Eastern and Byzantine World made the Venetian painting style of the Reinassance based more on colours than on drawing and lines, as it was in Florence. Wonderful examples of this are the works by Tiziano as the Assunta in the Frari Church and, later, by Tintoretto as the Paradiso in the Chamber of the Great Council in the Doge’s Palace.
As a Venice local, what’s your favourite neighborhood?
I’m not sure to be honest. Venice has this interesting dichotomy between the great monumental areas like St. Mark’s Square and the humble neighborhoods where the common people lived – very different places, but made similar by the unique hyper-transformed nature of the lagoon environment. Everything in this city is artificial, but at the same time you’re always surrounded by nature. It’s a weird feeling to describe.
Read More: The Neighborhoods of Venice – Which Sestiere Should You Stay In?
As a tour guide, what is your biggest challenge during this period?
In this period guides are basically jobless, so we have to re-invent ourselves. Some agencies (like Walks!) give us something to do, like the tours from home – but it’s up to us how we invest all this spare time.
Some of us use it to study, in preparation of new tours when tourism starts again, or simpy to refine what we already know (there is always room for improvements!). I’m lucky because I have plenty of passions outside of my job, so now I’m dedicating a lot of my energy to them, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Maybe some of my passions could eventually lead to a new job in the future, who knows?
How do you see the travel industry evolving during and after this time?
The whole industry will need to change to face the new situation, that’s obvious. We don’t know how much time will pass before we’ll be 100% safe from the virus. Maybe we’ll need to learn to travel using all the safety rules we are getting used to right now such as social distancing, protective masks, good hygiene etc. – this is going to completely change how we plan our tours, for example. I consider myself an optimist, so I’m trying to see the positive side in all this, hoping that a new approach to the way we travel could help prevent mass tourism from taking an even stronger hold in many cities.
In Venice for example, residents are somehow ‘re-conquering’ their city, which was more for the visitors than for them in the last decades. Are residents willing to step aside again when tourism bounces back? That will be interesting to see.
Outside of your home city, what is your favourite place in the world to visit?
I’m an urban person, I love big cities and I can’t stand trips where you only see beautiful landscapes (controversial, I know).
I go to London a lot. I also love Berlin. I think Rome would be the best city in the world, if it wasn’t so chaotic at times.
Where would you love to travel to next?
I’ve never visited the cities of northern Europe like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Riga, Stockholm. I would also love to go to Crete, an island whose history is strongly connected with Venice as an overseas colony of the Republic of Venice from 1205-1212.
What city or place in the world do you think is the most underrated, and would you urge people to visit?
Definitely Istanbul. It was the most important city in the world for centuries, when it was capital of the Eastern Rome Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. It has such impressive sights and monuments. In my opinion it should be one of the most visited places in the world.
Where have you tried the best food and what was it?
As much as I love travels, nothing can beat Italian food. My favourite Italian food would be dishes from central Italy, between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany.