Venice’s Neighborhoods: Which Sestiere Should You Stay in?

It’s important to understand the differences between each sestiere in Venice before you decide which one to choose. Here’s a guide to the six main areas of Venice, from quiet Cannaregio to busy San Marco. And which one is best.


Cannaregio, one of Venice’s most charming and authentic neighborhoods, is home to Venice’s Jewish Ghetto and Santa Lucia train station… as well as the majority of Venice’s actual residents. They host some of Europe’s most stunning Hanukkah celebrations .

Cannaregio canal

You should visit Cannaregio’s Ghetto, which is one of Europe’s oldest, the Ca d’Oro, which is a beautiful Venetian palace you can explore, and the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. This church is a jewel and one of the finest examples of Venetian Renaissance architecture.

You want to be away from crowds and experience Venice “like an Italian”; you want to save money on accommodation and you want to make it easy to reach Burano or Murano from your current location (the #12 express ferry to both islands leaves from Cannaregio’s Fondamente Nuova stop). If you don’t want to leave, here’s a guide for Burano.

If: You dream of Venice and you want to see the Rialto Bridge or St. You can see Mark’s Basilica and the Rialto Bridge from your window, which are both a short walk away. However, you do not want to walk or use public transport.

San Marco

St. Mark’s Square is the heart of San Marco’s sestiere

Every traveler to Venice ends up in San Marco at some point. This tiny sestiere is home to many of Venice’s most famous sights. It’s also one of the most touristic and expensive areas in Venice.

St. Mark’s Square, Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Rialto Bridge are some of the top sights in this sestiere. Harry’s Bar is another.

Stay here, if:You have always wished you could walk out of your hotel onto the Rialto Bridge. Mobility is a concern for you, and you plan to spend most of your time in Venice seeing the sights. You don’t mind shopping, and don’t mind paying a lot of money on food and drinks. We also mentioned that St. St. Mark’s is one the most beautiful churches in Europe. These 6 reasons you should visit St. Mark’s while you’re there, even if your stay is short.

You don’t want to stay here if:You don’t want to have to travel far to find authentic and well-priced food; if your plan is to live in an apartment with your own kitchen (it is difficult to find grocery stores or markets here), the idea of having to fight through crowds to walk down a street is not your idea for a vacation. Your idea of Venice is artisanal shops and not souvenir stores.


Castello woman

Castello dates back to the 13th Century. It is also one of the oldest sestieri and the most authentic in Venice. You can see elderly women talking between the windows, and children playing soccer in piazzas (or campsi in Venice).

Castello was built around a naval dockyard. Today, the Arsenale is a major draw. It was once the largest shipyard of Venice and is now home to the Venetian Biennale. Castello also has the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, which is one of the city’s most significant churches and where 25 doges rest. The Church of San Zaccaria, home to Giovanni Bellini’s most famous work, the Scuola Grande di San Marco and the Santa Maria Formosa campo (square) are other attractions.

You want to see Venice “like a local”, save money on accommodation, and if the Biennale is taking place here. If you’re looking to travel to Burano or Murano from your current location, you can take the express ferry from Fondamenta Nuova, which leaves from near northern Castello.

If: You dream of Venice and you want to see the Rialto Bridge and St. You can see the Mark’s Basilica and Rialto Bridge from your window, which are both a 10- to twenty-minute walk each. If you’re certain you’ll be spending most of your time in Venice’s greatest sights, but don’t mind walking or taking public transport, you might consider staying here.


Dorsoduro is home to the iconic Santa Maria della Salute church

Dorsoduro offers the best of both the worlds. It has a peaceful atmosphere during the day and a lively nightlife area, charming back streets, and some of the city’s most fascinating sights. Stay in the south-central part of Campo Santa Margherita if you are looking for a charming area.

The Accademia is Venice’s most renowned art gallery and the biggest attraction in Dorsoduro. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which houses a famous collection of modern art, including pieces by Picasso, Dali, Duchamp and Mondrian, is another attraction in Dorsoduro. Students and younger people love Campo Margherita’s laid-back bars, nightlife, and friendly staff. The Dorsoduro region also includes the island of Giudecca to the south-east of Venice.

Stay here, if: You want to see Venice “like a local”, but are close to the most important sights. If you’re interested to enjoy Venice’s nightlife and Grand Canal.

If you don’t want to be far from the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Basilica, if you are looking for Venice’s charms and are unable to find places in Dorsoduro’s vicinity near Piazzale Roma.

Santa Croce

Fondaco dei Turchi is located in Santa Croce’s sestiere

Santa Croce is the home of some of Venice’s most important transport hubs including the main port and Piazzale Rom. It is also one of the most touristy sestieres in Venice.

The district’s eastern region is home to most tourist attractions. These include the Church of San Giacomo dell’Orio with its paintings of Lorenzo Lotto, Veronese and its lively piazza. The Fondaco dei Turchi is a 13th century palazzo which later became a one building ghetto for Venice’s Ottoman Turkish residents. It now houses the Museum of Natural History.

You’re looking for a cheaper accommodation option; you don’t want to be surrounded by tourists or the crowds. It’s important that you stay within walking distance from Piazzale Roma and the port.

You don’t want or need to walk a lot. If you are short on time and can’t afford to stay in Venice, you should plan to spend your time at St. Mark’s, the Rialto Bridge and other attractions.

San Polo

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is a beautiful church in San Polo.

San Polo, Venice’s smallest sestiere, is also one of the oldest areas in the city. It’s a lively and touristic district that is also centrally located.

The Bridge is the main attraction in San Polo. Other attractions include the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, which is perhaps the oldest church in Venice, the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, where you will find some of Titian’s most important paintings, the Church of San Rocco, famed for its Tintoretto cycle of paintings, and the Campo San Polo, which was once home to bullfights and masked balls.

You’ll be cooking at your home (one the best fish markets in Venice is here); you love food (some of Venice’s finest restaurants are here); and you want to explore Venice’s nightlife.

If you want total tranquility, don’t stay here (especially on the lane that runs from the Accademia Bridge to Rialto Bridge), and you don’t like to walk or use public transport a lot.

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