The six Venice's sestieri
Venice has six Sestieri (Venetian name given to its districts) which constitute the old city centre.
- Cannaregio: the most populated sestiere. There is the Jewish Ghetto, the small area in which Jews were confined;
- Castello: the largest Venetian sestiere. It's in eastern Venice and includes the Arsenal;
- Dorsoduro: it's one of the most comfortable areas of Venice. The name (italian for "hard ridge") is due to the fact that it was the only part of the city characterizes by a stable and less swampy land.
- San Marco: the most famous sestiere, due to the homonym square and basilica;
- San Polo: takes its name from the homonym church; it's linked to San Marco by the well-known Rialto bridge
- Santa Croce: the road bridge Ponte della Libertà links this sestiere to the mainland, so Santa Croce is the only sestiere where car circulation is partially allowed.
The house numbering system of Venice is a particular one: the numbers don't begin and end in every street, but they continue throughout the whole sestiere. This implies addresses with very high numbers, where the name of the street may even be omitted – just the name of the sestiere and the building number is usually provided –, so be careful when you're looking for your hotel or any other kind of building!
St Mark's Square
As the name suggests, the heart of the sestiere is the famous St Mark's Square, with its outstanding Basilica and campanile, which draw millions of tourists from all over the world.
This sestiere is also the best for shopping lovers: here lies the Mercerie, a collection of streets completely full of shops.
Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo and Scuola Grande di San Marco
A canal in Santa Croce
In 1933 the Ponte della Libertà (Bridge of Liberty) was built by Benito Mussolini to connect Venice – in particular Santa Croce – to the mainland through train and road transport. This led to the construction of the Stazione Marittima, which is a station for ferry-boats, hydrofoils and cruises; Piazzale Roma, an important bus and taxi terminal; and the artificial island of Tronchetto, which acts as a car park where vehicles can be left when arriving in Venice, although the limited space available means high prices and long queues. Visitors are therefore advised to leave their cars on the mainland – in Mestre or Marghera – and then reach Venice by bus or train.
Santa Maria della Salute