Stories of Istanbul (Art & History Walks)

Tulips And Trade (Half Day Walking Tour)

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One Sultana was so frustrated with her drunken and mentally defective offspring that she simply ruled the Empire herself, building her own workplace on the bones of a Byzantine church. It’s part of our walk through the shops and labyrinthine bazaars, built by Ottomans on Byzantine foundations. There’s time to browse, and enjoy the odd historical details as well, on a wander through the historic old shopping district, punctuated by tiled mosques and hole-in-the-wall eateries.

Tour Leader

TV by Ken Brown copy

Trici Venola

A groundbreaking Los Angeles digital painter and MacEvangelist, Trici Venola moved to Istanbul in 1999 and began drawing everything she saw. She has now created over 2000 drawings of this rapidly-changing city at the center of the world, authoring two books of drawings,Drawing On Istanbul and Drawing On Istanbul 2, both available on Amazon, as well as The Drawing On Istanbul Blog, popular with art historians, Byzantine scholars, students and those who just like a good read, with pictures. She learned the history of the places she was drawing, and local people showed her things few get to see. Her anecdotal art walks around Istanbul are now available as Stories of Istanbul, through Unison Tours. While her tours feature major attractions such as Hagia Sophia, they specialize in the odd detail and often-overlooked aspect of this multi-layered place.

 The Drawing On Istanbul Blog:


Tour photos

Things to know

  • 8 hours

    Available every day except Monday.


Do & Don't in Istanbul

  • +Take a peek at Princess Islands
  • +Take a romantic ferry ride along Bosphorus
  • +Visit nearby Black Sea towns
  • -Do not trust the taxi drivers, check the meter as you are getting on
  • -Do not enter the houses with shoes
  • -Don't wander in the back streets of Beyoğlu after midnight


1 Pax

2 Pax

3 Pax

4 Pax

5 Pax

6-7 Pax







Prices are per person and quoted in Euros.

Note: This is a walking tour and starts from a meeting point in Sultanahmet. If you require transfers between your hotel and the meeting point, please add €150 on top for a round trip.

Prices Include:

  • Full day guiding service by Trici Venola
  • Entrance fees where necessary

Prices Do Not Include:

  • Tips for guide and driver
  • Personal expenses


  • When we mentioned to longtime friends we were visiting Istanbul they told us our enjoyment would be increased substantially if we hired Trici as our guide.They told us the truth.When we contacted Trici she told us that she emphasized the art of Istanbul and we said we approved.She also told us the truth.What neither friends nor Trici told us was that she is a worldclass artist who devotes her art to capturing the obvious and the offbeat sides of that mysterious city.And that’s the truth.

    Ian D. Lanoff 


    I have never been to Istanbul, but I do have extremely vivid, colorful and imaginative images of Istanbul in my mind through the stunning art that Ms. Venola has drawn and the imaginative prose she has written during the years that she has lived there. She is a wonderful ambassador for your city.I can only say that I wish I -could- have the opportunity to have her lead me on a tour of Istanbul: I know it would be magical, thrilling, awe-inspiring. Truly a never-to-be-forgotten experience!

    Charles Richard Lester

    Los Angeles


    I can think of no better tour guide when visiting Istanbul than Trici Venola. Her passion for the city is only exceeded by her knowledge of it's history. The fact that she is an artist and an avid urban sketcher makes her insights that much more astute.

    Her warmth, compassion and humor make her a wonderful guide and  teacher. Trici knows Istanbul -- its nooks and crannies as well as its majestic sites-- better than most natives, much better!! I recommend her highly.

    Peter Hristoff

    Fine Artist and BFA Faculty, School of Visual Arts, NY, NY


    From "commando santas" rappelling down buildings around the city, to colorful mannikins, to workshops and alleys and a million cats, Trici Venola has an insiders awareness of a wonderful assortment of "off the tourist trail" discoveries to share.

    Ken Brown  NYC.


    Spending a day with Trici is like your best Indiana Jones fantasy come true! You duck behind a coke machine in a hole in the wall food store and there you have it, the OTHER cistern (that no one ever sees!) A guide will real passion and joy. The best knowledge I have found so far on Byzantium, Turkey and Istanbul. Not only that she is great fun!

    John D S Kelly NYC


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