Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world and one of the best places to visit in Italy. It’s known as “The Floating City,” although recently, it’s become more “The Sinking City.” It sinks about 0,03 inches annually, and water levels rise, filling the streets with water every summer. The Venetians fill the streets and play with the water to commemorate the season.
Venice is home to events such as the Venice Film Festival and the famed Carnivale – which attracts even more visitors to the city and the adjacent islands. Renowned for its romantic gondola rides and bridges, it’s no wonder people flock there.
The amazing thing about the city is that all of the major attractions are in close proximity to each other. This guide has been compiled to help you know where to go and what to see.
5 Magnificent Neighborhoods in Venice, Italy
Venice is one of those cities where every alleyway and street offers something worthwhile that you’ll absolutely adore. The landmarks may be the star attraction, but they aren’t the whole show.
This magnificent city is filled with numerous towns and communities that each show off their own unique culture and beauty. Though none of the neighborhoods in Venice can be regarded as the best, the one that you choose to visit will certainly impact the vibe of your vacation.
Some involve more walking than others, while some require you to have the time to explore all the hidden gems of Venice. This guide will help you decide which area is for you.
San Marco │ Best for First Timers
If it’s your first time in Venice, then San Marco is definitely the neighborhood for you. It’s booming with tourists and is a walking distance from the main attractions. This area is usually crowded and gives you a glimpse of how the city is.
This is the perfect place to be if you love architecture. It has marvelous buildings and churches that will leave you awestruck. San Marco is also home to one of the world’s oldest cafés, Caffè Florian, which opened in 1720. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and take in the views of the city.
Things to Do in San Marco
As a testament to the architecture from the Byzantine era, the Basilica San Marco is a perfect example. Built to honor and house the remains of St. Mark in 829, this structure only became a cathedral in 1807. Its interior is decorated with mosaics glittered in gold and marble. It’s no wonder there’s always a queue to enter. So skip the line and get a fast-track entry ticket here.
One of the other main landmarks in Venice is Doge’s Palace. The museum is home to paintings, statues, prisons, and apartments from its time housing the duke, all of which are worth your time.
San Polo │ Best for Families
San Polo serves as one of the oldest cities in Venice. It’s been said to be lively and heavily filled with tourists. This neighborhood is connected to San Marco by means of its main feature, the Rialto Bridge. It’s a place that’s rich in culture and history, home to multiple restaurants and cafés if you get hungry.
San Polo is quite revered for its fresh food markets, with the best being Mercato di Rialto. It’s flanked by exquisite pubs and restaurants that offer mouthwatering food. The market offers fresh produce and some tasty treats for you to enjoy as well. This district is also home to several museums and shops.
Top tip: Feeling overwhelmed by Mercato’s business? Going on this Rialto Market tour will make you fit right in with the locals.
Things to Do in San Polo
Probably the most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. It’s quite literally the bridge between San Marco and San Polo. You’ll likely cross this bridge or enjoy a gondola ride under it at some point during your trip. It’s an excellent spot to gaze upon the city.
For fans of art, the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci is a must-see. The museum is broken up into four sections, representing the elements to showcase life-size replicas of his inventions. It also has reproductions of his famous artworks as well as some sketches done by him.
Castello │ Best for Relaxing
Castello is Venice’s most underappreciated area by tourists. It’s not filled with landmarks and architectural hotspots like the other neighborhoods, but it’s certainly worth the visit. It exudes a calming charm that invites you in and nestles you in it.
Castello acts as a connection between the city center, the naval base, and Giardini Gardens. It’s certainly one of the most tranquil and scenic districts in Venice, boasting lush gardens and spacious parks. It’s also ideal for spending the whole day and night out due to its cultural attractions and plethora of restaurants.
Things to Do in Castello
Head to Wine Bar 5000 for a vast selection of wine and cocktails for you to choose from. This place is perfect for fresh pasta and a night out. If you’re in the mood for a bit of fine dining, then Ristorante Alle Corone is the place for you. Be swept off your feet by the spectacular service and delectable food.
If you want to fill your day with art and culture, then Museo di Palazzo Grimani is the ideal place. This museum is a remarkable place and a unique thing to do in Venice. It’s home to frescoes and stucco works, with a sublime interior and garden area.
Dorsoduro │ Best for Museums and Nightlife
Dorsoduro is Venice’s student district, and it’s the best place to go if you want lively nightlife. There are numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants in this neighborhood, and they’re all at reasonable prices.
Not only are the drinks cheap, but Dorsoduro is far less expensive than many other neighborhoods in Venice. With the wide range of clubs and bars, you’ll see many different characters being drawn to these places. This neighborhood is known for having parties that go well into the morning, with most clubs only opening at 11 pm.
Things to Do in Dorsoduro
For a fun night, head to Piccolo Mondo Disco, the oldest disco in Italy and the only one in Venice. It’s perfect for dancing the night away. Check out Chet Bar and Café Noir as well for amazing nightlife.
Dorsoduro has a lot more to offer than just nightlife. To get lost in some art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a definite must-visit. The museum was home to heiress Peggy Guggenheim.
She elected to begin displaying her artworks in the house, and it’s been open for public consumption ever since. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon and an admission ticket costs €17 (18 USD) per person.
Cannaregio │ Best for Being on a Budget
Venice’s most populous neighborhood is Cannaregio. Rich in history, tradition, and culture, this district contains some of the city’s most beautiful buildings. Cannaregio runs from the Grand Canal to San Marco, encompassing the city’s outskirts.
This district is prominent in Venice; this is likely due to the neighborhood’s affordability. It’s also relatively close to Venice’s main train station, allowing you to get around with ease. However, Cannaregio has more to offer than just a low price and easy access to public transportation. This neighborhood is always bustling with activity.
Things to Do in Cannaregio
Ca’d’Oro is home to Giorgio Franchetti’s art collection. The museum has art collections that have also been donated by the state, mostly statues and bronze items. It also has numerous preservation laboratories to help conserve the art. Pass by this stunning museum for an afternoon of art and spectacular views.
Another museum to explore is the Jewish Museum of Venice. This museum was created by the locals to help protect the area’s history and to showcase the work done by the people during the time of Jewish settlement.
FAQs on the Best Places to Visit in Venice, Italy
With all of the information in this guide, you may still have some questions about taking a trip to Venice. Here are some FAQs to help you:
When is the Best Time to Visit Venice, Italy?
Venice is one of those cities that has something to offer all year round. To get the most out of the city, though, summer is probably the best time to visit Venice.
Where Can I Shop in Venice?
For trinkets and souvenirs, there are markets and a few small shops and boutiques, such as Pied à Terre. For clothes shopping, there are numerous hidden boutiques to explore.
PS: If you’re looking to get some of Venice’s famous blown glass, check out this Murano Glass Factory tour.
What Should I Wear in Venice?
First things first, ensure that you pack comfortable shoes, as you will be walking a lot. If you’re visiting Venice in the wintertime, dress warmly. Take a coat and boots. In the summer, pack light clothes. Still, pack a jacket for rain and don’t forget your sunscreen.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Visit in Italy
Venice has shown to be a city with culture, history, and stunning buildings. It’s more than just a city for lovers to enjoy. The charm of this city lies within its cobble-stoned streets, fresh food, and jaw-dropping views.
You can never be bored in one of the best places to visit in Northern Italy.