Venice Unveiled: Exploring the Hidden Gems of its Neighborhoods

Navigating through the neighborhoods in Venice can be an adventure if you have never visited before. The city is divided into six different neighborhoods that have been around since the Romans set up camp here. Each neighborhood, or sestiere, has its own street numeration. 

This magical city is filled with incredible history, breathtaking scenery, unique culture, and delicious cuisine. Figuring out which neighborhoods you want to explore, which one you want to stay in, and where to find the best restaurants, attractions, or shops is all part of the travel planning fun.

Venice Unveiled: Exploring the Hidden Gems of its Neighborhoods

Check out these must visit neighborhoods in Venice, including San Marco and San Polo. When exploring and deciding where to stay, drop your bags off with a Venice luggage storage service. You want to blend into the crowd and not look too much like a tourist lugging big bags everywhere you go in Venice. Traveling light is always ideal, too!

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Venice. When you picture Venice in your mind, you will most likely visualize San Marco as this is the heart of the city and where many people go to experience Venice. Filled with some of the most amazing landmarks, San Marco is a neighborhood you have to see.

Head over to Palazzo Ducale and then pay a visit to the Basilica di San Marco and its Campanile. The Torre dell Orologio is a spectacular clock tower that is near Caffé Florian, an 18th-century café with a true Venetian atmosphere. 

Meander along Calle Larga XXII Marzo, the best high-end shopping street in the city. Fondaco Dei Tedeschi is one of the main shopping malls in Venice. The city center is filled with buildings that are centuries old making a walking tour through this neighborhood an absolute must. Most of the major sights are located within walking distance of each other in San Marco. 

When you are planning on staying in San Marco, make reservations at the St. Regis Venice, a 5-star hotel that overlooks the Grand Canal. If you are looking for something a little more budget-friendly, the Hotel Montecarlo or Hotel San Zulian are just minutes from the Piazza San Marco. 

Dorsoduro and Giudecca

Dorsoduro and Giudecca

Technically, Dorsoduro and Giudecca are two neighborhoods. They are right next to each other and are often linked together as the trendiest place to visit in Venice. Dorsoduro is the southernmost neighborhood and is right next to the island of Giudecca. This is where you will find some of the best museums in Venice.

This area is home to the Ca’ Foscari University, which is one of Italy’s most famous universities. The Venice Architecture Institute is also located in Dorsoduro. When here, you have to stop in to see the Punta della Dogana and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection as well as several smaller art galleries filled with vibrant and simply amazing art. 

Giudecca at one time was a dangerous neighborhood filled with crime. Over the past few decades, it has become a more sedate, residential neighborhood filled with art galleries, museums, and wonderful waterfront views. Visit the Tre Oci to check out the photography exhibits. 

Two churches built during the 16th century should be on your tour of Giudecca: Chiesa di Sant’ Eufemia and Chiesa Della Zitelle. Plan your visit for July 14th when fireworks light up the sky over Giudecca during the Feast of the Redeemer. 

Hotels in Giudecca are a little harder to find since this has become mainly a residential area, but the Belmond Hotel Cipriani is a great choice when looking for a luxury hotel. The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is another fantastic option and has the biggest spa and ballroom in Venice. 

Dorsoduro has a few more alternatives when looking for nice accommodations including the Hotel Palazzo Stern, a boutique hotel sitting on the banks of the Grand Canal. The Hotel Ca’ Nobile Corner is another boutique hotel and is a converted 14th-century palace. 

San Polo

San Polo

San Polo is located across the Canal Grande from San Marco and borders Dorsoduro, but is still near enough to easily visit and enjoy the palaces, palazzos, churches, restaurants, and shops. San Polo is the smallest of the original neighborhoods but is home to the iconic Rialto Market where you can find some of the freshest foods and interesting street vendors. 

Stroll along the Rialto Bridge and poke around in the little alleyways of San Polo where you will discover some of the best pieces of the city’s history. The Rialto Bridge was first built in 1591 and is the most popular bridge in Venice. 

Several historians claim that the oldest operating church in Venice is located in San Polo. The Chiesa di San Giacometto or San Giacomo di Rialto Church dates back to the pre-1500s but the exact age of the church is not known. 

When staying in San Polo you will most likely use the Vaporetto, a water taxi, to get around. This is a common form of transportation and will make you feel like a native once you conquer the challenges of using the Vaporetto. 

There are several quieter hotels in San Polo that will not break the bank such as the Hotel Marconi, located across from the Rialto Bridge, and the Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel. The H10 Palazzo Canova is a more luxurious hotel on the Grand Canal and just minutes from the Rialto Bridge. 

Castello

Castello

As mentioned above, there are several interesting art galleries in some of the other neighborhoods such as Dorsoduro, but Castello is probably the best neighborhood in Venice for being fully immersed in art. 

Castello has a quieter atmosphere than its neighbor, San Marco, but it is still a happening place to spend a few days. The Giardini Della Biennale with its 30 pavilions is one of the best places to visit in Castello. Each pavilion belongs to a different country and is used to display their artwork every two years. 

History is thick in this neighborhood with the Arsenale and the Parco delle Rimembranze. Castello is actually the biggest Venice neighborhood but is also one of the quietest neighborhoods where tourists generally do not venture. But, if you are looking for a true Venetian experience, you will want to stay in Castello. 

Stroll along the Via Garibaldi, the widest street in Venice, and the spot of a hopping nightlife when the sun finally goes down. Stop in and explore the Museo Storico Navale, dedicated to the shipbuilding industry of Venice. Outdoor markets are common here and you will also find plenty of boutiques and artisan shops. 

Make reservations at the Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia, a 4-star hotel that is only about a six-minute walk from San Marco Square. The Hotel Da Bruno is a smaller hotel that is about halfway between San Marco Square and the Rialto Bridge. 

Unique Locales

With six distinct, and old, neighborhoods making up Venice you have plenty of options for places to stay, eat, and shop. Spend a weekend or even an entire week exploring some of the best neighborhoods in Venice where you will find gorgeous old-world churches, intriguing art galleries, and fabulous shops and boutiques.

Read Also: Exploring Umag: A Blend of Coastal Beauty and Cultural Charms


Ferona Jose

Ferona Jose is a passionate travel writer and blogger at Travelistia. She has traveled throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her writing focuses on cheap travel destinations, travel experiences, cultural insights, and travel hacks.

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