Castello: what to do in the Venice least known district
The district of Venice Castello may not be the city’s best-known area (sestiere), but it is the largest, and there’s plenty here to make it worth a visit. Even better, because it’s not so well known, it’s a place where you can enjoy a quieter side of Venice, away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist hotspots, like the Grand Canal. Here’s what you should see when you’re there in Castello district in Venice.
What is Castello like in Venice?
Castello is a beautiful and charming Venice district that is known for its historical landmarks, traditional neighborhoods, and vibrant cultural scene. The area has a unique character that sets it apart from other districts in town. One of the defining features of Castello is its many public squares and parks, which provide space for locals and visitors to relax and socialize. One of the most popular is Giardini della Biennale, a park that hosts the Venice Biennale art exhibition. Castello is also known for its beautiful churches and historic landmarks, such as the Arsenale, which was once one of the largest shipyards in Europe and is now used for cultural events and exhibitions. The area has a mix of traditional and modern dining options and artisanal shops and boutiques that sell local crafts and souvenirs. Castello is also home to many traditional Venetian neighborhoods, where locals live and work, providing a glimpse into daily life in the city. Here is a list of things not to be missed when you are in Castello, district of Venice.
1. Museo Storico Navale – the Naval History Museum
One of our favorite things to do in the district of Venice Castello is visit the Naval History Museum (Museo Storico Navale in Italian), which is the museum of the Italian Navy. You’ll find this fascinating museum near the Arsenale, along the Riva San Biagio, and inside you’ll discover all sorts of interesting facts about Venice’s history on the water. You’ll see amazing model ships, old gondolas and plenty of other relics from the city’s past as a naval power.
2. Church of San Pietro di Castello
Venice’s official church until the construction of St Mark’s, the 16th-century Church of San Pietro di Castello can be found on the island of San Pietro. This church is noted for its throne of St Peter, which you can see when you visit; look out for its Arabic motifs. You’ll also notice the church’s Renaissance bell tower, one of Venice’s most distinctive.
3. The Arsenale di Venezia
Venice was once a major naval power, and the Arsenale is an impressive reminder of that. At over 46 hectares, this collection of former shipyards and armories was once one of the world’s biggest pre-industrial centres of production. Though it’s used by the Italian army these days, you can still admire the mighty Porta Magna entrance and visit more of the Arsenale during the Biennale. This is the most cultural aspect of Castello district.
4. Castello’s Giardini
Think Venice is all canals and piazzas? Think again. In Castello, Venice proves that it too can do beautiful parks and gardens, and none more so than the Giardini. Famed as a setting for the Venice Biennale art exhibitions, the Giardini features 30 different pavilions, each representing a different country. Wander the gardens right to the tip of the island and look out for the resident stray cats along the way – a delightful thing to do if you’re bringing your family to Venice.
You don’t have to be on holiday in Venice to visit Castello. With our high-speed ferry crossing, you can do a day trip to Venice from Croatia and see this magical city as well as beautiful Croatia!
What to visit in Castello (Venice, Italy) with more time to spare
If your stay in Venice allows it, this sestiere has other places of interest such as the Campo di SS. Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest in Venice, in which stands the Church of the same name, a monumental religious building in the Gothic style that has been given the title of Minor Basilica. In this sestiere we also find the Church of San Zaccaria, inside which are frescoes by Bellini, and some green spaces where you can spend a few hours in peace, such as the large Pineta di Sant’Elena, also known as Parco delle Rimembranze, located in the southernmost part of the sestiere.