Sharing the same side of the Grand Canal with San Marco, Cannaregio district is one of the largest and the most populous of the city center. It stretches across the north-west of the city from Santa Lucia Railway Station almost to the Rialto bridge and it is delimited by the Lagoon, the Grand Canal, Castello and Saint Mark districts. Heart of Venice’s nightlife, Cannaregio is lively young and you can easily explore it on foot along the typical venetian streets called “campi” while enjoying its atmosphere. This district is considered one of the most beautiful and unspoiled part of Venice. Though Cannaregio has noble palaces built along the Grand Canal, the northern part of this district was, and still is, a typical working-class neighborhood scattered with many typical wine bars called “bacari” . Cannaregio is also famous for the presence of the oldest Jewish Quarter in Europe, with its synagogues which represent architectural highlights. Several striking buildings such as the churches of “Madonna dell'Orto”, “Santa Maria dei Miracoli” and the Ca' d'Oro are among the most beautiful and interesting tourist attractions in Venice. The splendid Labia Palace with Tiepolo's frescoes Palace, the Foundations of Ormesini, the Malibran theatre and Marco Polo’s House deserve a visit.
It is the largest and most populated district in Venice and it is certainly one of the most visited by tourists. It is a very suggestive area and you can’t leave the city without a stroll around its neighborhood. Situated on the eastern part of the city, it borders with the San Marco and Cannaregio districts and it is bounded from the lagoon of Venice. It is the only quarter not facing the Grand Canal. The Paglia Bridge (Ponte della Paglia) connects Castello with San Marco district and offers to the visitors a splendid view of the famous “Ponte dei Sospiri” (Bridge of Sighs). In the Castello district there is a lot to see: Carpaccio's paintings at the “Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni” are worth a long look and “San Francesco della Vigna”, with a Palladio facade and Sansovino interior, certainly deserves a stop. The churches of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, and San Zaccaria are major attractions and even the elegant “Riva degli schiavoni” promenade has plenty of interesting buildings: Palazzo delle Prigioni Nuove, Palazzo Dandolo, the Ponte della Ca ' di Dio, the Church of San Biagio and the Naval History Museum. Another milestone is the impressive Arsenal complex, remarkable for its historical value, and San Pietro island with the homonymous Church. The Castello district has beautiful public gardens housing some pavilions of the Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition.
The “sestiere” of Dorsoduro is the largest and one of the most picturesque district of Venice . It’s a quite lively and popular neighborhood, pleasant to be discovered on foot and it has been known as an artists’ haven. On the opposite side of the Accademia Bridge from San Marco, the district is bordered by Santa Croce, San Polo and Grand Canal. Good neighborhood restaurants, a charming gondola boatyard, the lively Campo Santa Margherita, and the sunny quay called le Zattere all add to the character and color that make this one of the city's most-visited areas. From Le Zattere promenade with Palazzo Giustinian and the Gesuati Church (with Tiepolo’s painting) people can enjoy an amazing view of the Giudecca island. In Dorsoduro district you can discover the Maritime Station and the convent of San Sebastian with Veronese’s frescoes, and the beautiful Ca’ Zenobio building. Other remarkable monuments are the Academy Palace, Gambara Palace, Stern Palace, Ca’ Dario, Ca’ Rezzonico,and “Palazzo Venier dei leoni” which houses the Peggy Guggenheim collection. Famous destinations for tourists are the Church of “Santa Maria della Salute” and the “Galleria dell'Accademia”, which displays beautiful masterpieces of Venetian painting from '300 to '700.
L’isola di Giudecca
The Giudecca island, lying south of the historic centre of Venice, represents the largest island in Venice. It is actually made up of eight small islands interconnected by several bridges and bordered by the Giudecca channel. Located opposite to Piazza San Marco and the Dorsoduro district, this island is a quiet and relaxing working-class residential neighbourhood and it is not invaded by crowds of tourists. Visitors can get there easily by vaporetto from the Zattere promenade water-bus stop. Landing off at Sant’Eufemia waterstop you can admire the homonymous church, one of the oldest in Venice and the Molino Stucky complex, Venice’s first neogothic building. The most representative building is the “Chiesa del Redentore” (Church of the Redeemer) that hosts many Renaissance masters’ paintings. La Giudecca is also famous for the breathtaking views of Venice that you can enjoy from its waterfront.
The San Marco district is the real heart of Venice and it dazzles visitors with its beauty. It has been for more than a millennium the commercial, religious, cultural and political centre of the city. The district is anchored by the “Piazza San Marco” and the “Basilica di San Marco” to the south and the Rialto Bridge to the north and it includes the adjacent San Giorgio Maggiore Island. San Marco is with no doubt the best known and most visited district in Venice. Piazza San Marco is the centre of this area, renowned throughout the world, framed by fine buildings built at different times which blend together, giving an unmatched performance. Here stands out the Basilica of San Marco with its Byzantine-Gothic-style décor and the Doge’s Palace, ancient symbol of power of the Republic of Venice. Other important buildings are the Coreer Museum and the Clock Tower, consisting of a central tower and two side wings added later. The Clock Tower introduces the visitor to the “Mercerie”, one of the richest and most famous shopping and fashion district. Moving away from Piazza San Marco towards the tony “Riva degli Schiavoni”, from the the Straw Bridge you can enjoy a splendid view of the “Ponte dei Sospiri” (Bridge of Sighs) and of the nearby Palace of Prisons. San Marco is also the musical heart of Venice, home to the legendary La Fenice Opera House; devastated by a fire in 1996, it was reopened in 2005 after an extensive restoration.
This is the smallest district of Venice but also one of the most lively and picturesque. Through its characteristic narrow streets full of shops and taverns you will experience the atmosphere of ancient times. San Polo district is a mixed-bag “sestiere” of residential corners and tourist sights and it stretches northwest of the Rialto Bridge to the principal church of “Santa Maria dei Frari” and the “Scuola di San Rocco”. It overlooks the Grand Canal. The most important area is Rialto, once the economic centre of the Venetian Republic. Despite being the smallest in size, this part of the city is populated by many Venetians and is one of the most attractive. Traditional taste is here widespread and respected all along the route leading to Rialto, with restaurants, osterie and “bacari”, serving appetizers (“cicheti”) and good wine(“ombre”). Unmissable the Rialto market that has taken place here for centuries with Erbarìa (the fruit and vegetable market), Pescarìa (the fish market) and Beccarìa (the butcher’s area). The spacious “Campo San Polo” is the main “campo” of Venice with the San Paolo Apostolo Church hosting important paintings by Veronese , Jacopo Palma il Giovane, Tintoretto and Tiepolo. San Cassiano Church, Carlo Goldoni’s House and the Franciscan Basilica of the Frari with Titian’s paintings surely deserve a stop.
The “Sestiere” of Santa Croce is the smallest district of the city. North and northwest of the San Polo district and across the Grand Canal from the train station, Santa Croce is the only district that can be reached by car and is directly linked to the mainland by the “Ponte della Libertà”, a bridge across the lagoon. Its eastern section is generally one of the least-visited areas of Venice, making it all the more desirable for curious visitors. Less lively than San Polo, it is as authentic and feels light-years away from San Marco. The quiet and lovely “Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio” is considered to be the heart of Santa Croce district. This pretty square epitomizes the “untouristed” Venice and houses the marvelous eponymous church. In this area you can visit many museums, churches and important monuments such as the Temple of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, San Simeon Grande and several remarkable buildings located along the Grand Canal. Among these, the grand Ca' Pesaro a splendid baroque building which houses the Museum of Oriental Art and the International Gallery of Modern Art and the Cà Corner della Regina assigned to the Prada Foundation. Not to be missed the Museum of Natural History in the Palace Fontego dei Turchi and Mocenigo Palace which today hosts the Museum for the History of Fabric and Costume .