Other cities have ‘quarters’, but in Venice, areas of the city are known as “sestieri”. So how many sestieri does Venice have and what are the main things to do in each one? Here is a quick lowdown on the six districts of Venice.
1. San Marco
As the name of this district suggests, San Marco is where the heart of Venice is located, along with its most famous landmarks. Piazza San Marco, its stunning basilica and the Doge’s Palace are all situated there. Behind Palazzo Ducale from the “Ponte della Paglia” it is possible to admire the well-known “Ponte dei Sospiri” beyond which the Castello district begins.
In this sestieri, there are many important museums: the Treasury of San Marco, inside the basilica, the Correr Museum and the national archaeological museum. So if you’re on a Venice day trip with limited time, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in this quarter.
Cannaregio is Venice’s largest sestieri, and it’s where you’ll find one of the best museums in Venice – the Jewish Museum of Venice, which explains the fascinating history of the district’s Jewish Quarter. In this quarter there are also the 5 historical synagogues of Venice, as well as the impressive Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Scalzi.Venice is known for its stunning palazzi, especially those that line the Grand Canal, and right there you can find one of the most astonishing: the 15th- century Ca d’Oro. Check out our favourite things to do in Cannaregio for other must-visit places in this district.
3. San Polo
This more laidback part of the city has plenty to recommend and to discover, with the Rialto Market and Campo San Polo (the city’s second largest square, after San Marco) both located there. This is the smallest Venice’s sestiere but don’t let its size deter you. It is the richest in artisan shops and small typical Venetian taverns, the bàcari.
The iconic Rialto Bridge connects this district with San Marco, so it’s easy to get to when you want to explore a slightly quieter neighbourhood and try the typical wines and small snacks, known as cichéti.
Known for being the city’s university district and one of the most lively areasof Venice, Dorsoduro is the Venice sestieri to go if you’re a bookworm, as it has some fantastic bookshops. Among its many wonders, the district is home to the Ca’ Foscari University and the famous Peggy Guggenheim Collection – a must for art lovers.
If you’re just in the mood for a stroll, we have a tip for you. Stop by Campo Santa Margherita, a lovely square that never sleeps: crowded during the day with the locals and busy in the evening with students.
5. Santa Croce
From the lively San Giacomo dell’Orio square and its historic church to Venice’s fascinating Museum of Modern Art, Santa Croce has plenty going for it. This district is also the location of the city’s main bus terminal at Piazzale Roma so if you arrive in Venice by bus you can start your Venice sestieri tour from the Santa Croce district.
Castello is one of the least visited parts of Venice, which makes it a great place to head to if you’re keen to escape the crowds. It’s where you’ll find the famous Arsenale, along with the Naval History Museum and plenty more besides. Take a look at our guide to what to see in Castello for more ideas for your itinerary.
The 6 Venice’s sestieri map
During your Venice sestieri tour, it can be very useful to have a map of the city. As you can notice each district is connected to another with many amazing bridges, so it is very easy to move around. Use this six Venice’s sestieri map to not get lost in the city’s canals and see all the wonderful places.
Are you ready to explore all the sestieri?
We have answered one common question – how many quarters are there in the city of Venice? – but before we go, we would like to answer another one: is Venice safe at night? The answer is yes! Venice is a very safe city and all its six districts are at their most romantic at night. Finally, if you want to save on the cost of accommodation, you might want to stay outside the sestieri; here are some good reasons why you should stay in Mestre if you’re on a budget.