Venice is the largest city in the Veneto region of Italy. The city is constructed masterfully upon the murky lagoon, whose waters surround it, protected from the Adriatic by a strip of land, a barrier island called the Lido.
The different areas of Venice, are known as “sestieri”, with each having its own specific charms and tourist attractions Here’s a quick overview of the six districts of Venice.
Named after the city’s patron Saint and the true heart of the city ever since its foundation, San Marco holds many of the cities most famous landmarks. Piazza San Marco, its stunning Basilica and its Campanile, as well as the Palazao Ducale (Doge’s Palace).
So if you’re on a Venice day trip with limited time, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in this quarter. San Marco also includes the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Cannaregio is Venice’s largest district, and is home to the city’s Jewish Neighbourhood and the Jewish Museum of Venice, which explains the sestiere’s fascinating history.
Venice is known for its stunning palazzi which line the Grand Canal, and one of the finest of them is the 15th century Ca’ d’Oro.
Situated in the centre of Venice, San Polo is the smallest of the six districts, as well as one of the oldest. This more laidback part of the city has plenty to recommend it, with the Rialto Market, established in 1097 and Campo San Polo (the city’s second largest square, after San Marco) both located here. The iconic Rialto Bridge connects this district with San Marco, so it’s easy to get to when you want to explore a slightly quieter part of the city.
Dorsoduro is located in the southeast part of Venice and includes Giudecca island. Known for being the city’s university district and one of the ‘cool’ areas of Venice, Dorsoduro is a great place to go if you’re a bookworm, as it has some fantastic bookshops.
Santa Croce is close to the Santa Lucia train station and the only sestiere of Venice where cars and buses are allowed to drive. While not as pretty as the other sestieri it still holds the Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia within the old Fondaco dei Turchi, and the vibrant square of San Giacomo dell’Orio and its historic church. This district is also the location of the city’s main bus terminal at Piazzale Roma, so you’ll be passing through if you arrive in Venice on the bus.
Castello is one of the least visited parts of Venice, which makes it a great place to head if you’re keen to escape the crowds. It’s the true art hotspot of the city Castello is the domain of the Giardini della Biennale, with their thirty pavilions, each belonging to a different country that uses them to display their works of art every two years.
It also houses the famous Venetian Arsenal, along with the Naval History Museum and plenty more besides.