VENICE - NEIGHBORHOODS
This small sestiere includes St. Mark`s Square and Basilica, the Doge`s Palace, Rialto Bridge, and Harry`s, which means that, while beautiful, it`s also one of the most crowded, touristic, and expensive neighborhoods in Venice. Unfortunately, rising rents have driven Venetians to the outer neighborhoods so finding authentic, well priced meals or grocery stores is almost impossible here. The advantage of this area is that you will be close to everything, so if mobility is a factor, this is the place to stay.
Across the Grand Canal from the train station, Santa Croce stretches all the way to Piazzale Roma (it is home to Venice`s major transport hubs). Its eastern section is generally one of the least visited areas of Venice, making it all the more desirable for curious visitors. It is authentic and feels light years away from San Marco. The quiet and lovely Campo San Giacomo dell`Orio is considered to be its heart. The sites in this area include the Church of San Giacomo dell`Orio with its lively piazza, and the Fondaco dei Turchi, a 13th century palazzo that houses the Museum of Natural History. If you stay here, you will be far away from the tourist sites and getting around will require a lot of walking.
Located on the same side of the Grand Canal with San Marco, Cannaregio stretches north and east from the Santa Lucia train station and the Jewish Ghetto into the canal area of the Ca` d`Oro and the Rialto Bridge. Its outer reaches are quiet, unspoiled, and include the majority of Venice`s actual residents. It is one of the loveliest and most authentic neighborhoods. If you stay here, you will experience `authentic` Venice and be off the beaten path.
Located on the opposite side of the Accademia Bridge from San Marco, it has the best of both worlds; a tranquil daytime atmosphere and one of the most exciting nightlife areas, charming back streets and some of the city`s most interesting sights including the Accademia, Venice`s most famous art gallery, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Church of San Sebastiano. Campo Margherita offers laid back bars and nightlife. It offers good neighborhood restaurants, a charming gondola boatyard, and the sunny quay called le Zattere (a favorite promenade and gelato stop).
This sistieri follows the Bacino di San Marco (St. Mark`s Basin), and begins just east of Piazza San Marco, skirting Venice`s most congested area to absorb some of the crowds and better hotels and restaurants. Dating back to the 13th century, Castello is the largest of the sestieri, as well as one of the most local and authentic in Venice. One of its major draws is the Arsenale, once the largest shipyard in Venice, and today home to the Venetian Biennale. Other sites include the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (the resting place for 25 doges), the Church of San Zaccaria, the richly decorated Scuola Grande di San Marco, and the church and piazza of Santa Maria Formosa. Note, if you stay here, you will be a 10-20 minute walk from St. Mark`s.
The lively district of San Polo is Venice`s smallest district which is centered around the shop-lined Rialto Bridge and Rialto Market, a well-known market famous for its fruits, vegetables and fish. Nearby, in the canalside Erbaria area, locals meet for aperitifs and `cicchetti,` or small plates, before heading to dinner at trendy eateries. The Basilica dei Frari houses masterpieces by Titian and other Renaissance artists. This area is also where you`ll find the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, one of the oldest in Venice, as well as the Campo San Polo, the second biggest square in Venice after St. Marks Square.