Venice, one of Italy's top cities, is comprised of six sestieri (singular sestiere) or neighborhoods. The Grand Canal, which is the city's main waterway, not only separates these neighborhoods but also provides residents and visitors with a primary mode of transportation. Take a look at this sestiere map and learn more about each neighborhood, plus how to use Venice's vaporetto or public transportation system.
Venice Sestiere Map
This sestiere map shows different locations throughout Venice. Although San Marco is the most often visited by tourists, each sestiere has its own unique character and tourist attractions. For tourists, be mindful that popular neighborhoods to visit are located on each side of the Grand Canal. Once you have decided where you want to explore, you will need to take into account various transportation options.
The train station is located in Cannaregio. On the same side of the Grand Canal, you will find San Marco and Castello. Santa Croce, across the Grand Canal from the train station, is closest to the bus and taxi arrivals at Piazzale Roma. San Polo and the Dorsoduro are across the canal from St. Mark's Square.
San Marco is in the heart of Venice and the sestiere most often visited by tourists. Piazza San Marco, St. Mark's Square, is Venice's main square. Around the square are elegant historic buildings and expensive cafes, some with live music in the evening. In addition, main tourist sites such as Saint Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, the Campanile (bell tower), and the Correr Museum can be found in this sestiere.
Dorsoduro, a large sestiere across the Accademia Bridge from San Marco, is close to Piazzale Roma (where buses and taxis arrive). A must-visit for art lovers, this neighborhood is home to Accademia Museum and the Guggenheim Art Collection, two of Venice's top museums.
Along one border of Dorsoduro sits the Guidecca Canal and its tranquil and scenic walkways. Foodies in search of cuisine often visit Campo Santa Margherita, a popular spot during the day that is home to fish and vegetable markets. Many students also call this sestiere home, as much of Venice's university system is located here. Thanks to the student population in this area, nightlife opportunities abound.
The Rialto Bridge across the Grand Canal connects San Marco and San Polo, one of the oldest parts of Venice. At the foot of the Rialto Bridge in San Polo is a massive fish and open-air vegetable market, which is an exciting place to visit early in the morning. San Palo is home to many food shops, bars, and great restaurants. It's a small but pretty sestiere with remnants of its medieval roots (some on display at Santa Maria Gloriosa de Frari).
While San Polo doesn't have an abundance of hotels, there are some good bargains that can be found here. Tourists seeking a true taste of Venice with a gondola ride can find a relaxing, serene option with a gondola ride.
Santa Croce Sestiere
Santa Croce is next to San Palo along the Grand Canal. If you're arriving in Venice by bus or taxi, this is the closest sestiere. Santa Croce is not only one of the oldest areas in Venice, but it is also the least visited by tourists. If this sestiere is on your list, be sure to explore its food options. It's home to one of Venice's most expensive restaurants, la Zucca, as well as many beloved pizzerie.
Cannaregio, across the Grand Canal from Santa Croce, is a large sestiere that stretches from the Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station to the Rialto Bridge. The Cannaregio Canal is the second largest canal in Venice, connecting the lagoon with the Grand Canal.
This neighborhood is known for its picturesque squares and canals, plus its local flavor, provided by its many residents. The Jewish Ghetto can be found here, as well as Fondamenta Misericordia, which is a great place to find restaurants, shops, cafes, and wine bars.
Castello, on the other side of San Marco, is home to the Venetian Arsenale, which consists of an old shipyard. It's a unique area to explore, and you'll see fewer tourists as you get farther from San Marco. Campo Santa Maria Formosa, the main square, is a pleasant spot filled with history and art.
Venice's vaporetti (singular vaporetto) are water buses, which are Venice's form of public transportation. The main vaporetto runs along the Grand Canal, connecting the train and bus stations with stops at each sestiere. To make the most out of this mode of transportation, educate yourself about using the vaporetti, such as ticket prices, schedules, and purchasing travel cards.
Consider staying on Venice Lido if you're interested in the beaches, nightlife, the Venice Film Festival, or driving your car to your hotel. From the Lido, it's only a short vaporetto ride to Saint Mark's Square.
Islands of the Venetian lagoon can easily be visited from Venice. Murano, home of glassmaking, and the colorful island of Burano, are among the most popular.
Venice Airport Transportation
The Venice Marco Polo Airport is almost four miles from Venice. Transportation options from the airport to different neighborhoods in Venice include the city bus system, shared vehicle services, or renting a car. Depending on how many people are in your party, plus how much luggage you have, will likely determine the best (and cheapest) option of transportation to your chosen sestiere.