The Neighborhoods of Venice, Italy

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Venice is an island shaped like a fish. Actually Venice includes an area on the mainland called Mestre but it is really considered to be only administratively part of Venice. The historic Venice is the island shaped like a fish and it is divided into six separate neighborhoods called sestieri. These neighborhoods are San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio and Castello.



It is in this sestiere that the Venice train station is located and most likely the place where you will be arriving in Venice. This is the most heavily populated sestiere of Venice and the second-largest by area. This sestiere stretches almost to the Rialto Bridge and encompasses the northwest area of Venice.


 If you imagine the fish shape of the island of Venice, with the head of the fish to the left and the tail to the right, Cannaregio is where the brain would be. It is here where you will find the Jewish Ghetto and the Fondamento Nove, where you can take a vaporetto to the islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello and San Michele.Cannaregio Canal in Venice, Italy


Santa Croce

Santa Croce is located in the northeast section of Venice and is where the eyes would be on the fish. By way of Piazzale Roma, Santa Croce connects to the mainland and if you are arriving by cruise ship this is where you first set foot in Venice. Santa Croce is the smallest sestiere and is also where the bus and car parking terminals are located.Santa Croce, Venice, Italy


San Polo

Located where the heart of the fish would be San Polo is the smallest sestiere and has been the liveliest for the past ten centuries. The city marketplace is here next to the Rialto and this is a hub of activity all the time. San Polo ha many little markets here selling all types of food and other items.


San Polo is more residential and has fewer tourists except for the area around the rialto market. If you want to wander around the streets and see how the locals live this is a good place to do it.San Polo, Venice, Italy



This sestiere lies in the southern part of Venice, or the fins of the fish. This is where I stayed on my last visit to Venice. I loved walking around the neighborhood, getting lost and speaking in Italian to the locals who lived here. There are a lot of college students here as the Foscari University  is in this neighborhood, so naturally there are plenty of places with reasonably priced food as well as a lively night scene.


Santa Margherita Square is the hub of the college scene here and there are plenty of gelato shops and cafés here as well as night spots. The Accademia Museum and the Peggy Guggenheim are also located here. The island of Giudecca is part of this sestiere although it is across the canal.Squero Di San Trovaso, Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy


San Marco

This is the most touristy sestiere as this is where St Mark’s Square is located. San Marco lies in the belly of the fish and is the busiest but considered the heart of Venice. Everyone wants to be here and there are plenty of restaurants and shops here as well as the main attractions of the Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica and the Campanile. Live orchestra music fills the air in the evenings and it is a magical place.Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy



This sestiere is in the tail of the fish, part of it near San Marco and the other part far less touristy as it extends to the east and further from the center of Venice. More local Venetians live here and there are more green spaces here.Sestiere Castello, Venice, Italy

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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