A guide to Venice’s neighbourhoods

While most cities are broken into quarters, Venice is divided into six districts or sestieri. Although it’s a compact city, each of Venice’s neighbourhoods has its own characteristics, offering you something a little different and distinctive wherever you wander.

Read on to find out the best place to stay if you’re keen on cuisine, which neighbourhood will indulge your artistic eye, or where to head for a bit of uncharacteristically quiet Venice.

Shopping in San Marco
San Marco contains the Venetian crown jewels in the form of the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, located in the eponymous square. For this reason, it is also the most densely populated in terms of tourists and purveyors of souvenirs. Whether you are just visiting or a local, this is definitely the neighbourhood for shopaholics. Via XXII Marzo is the Holy Grail of shopping in Venice, showcasing the biggest and the best of Italian designers. It is the most prestigious postcode in town and the plethora of antique shops, chichi clothing stores and art dealers, as well as the yacht club, are testimony to this. This district contains some of the loveliest hotels and is ideal for first-time visitors and those with little time as the main sights are on your doorstep.

The community of Cannaregio
Cannaregio once had a reputation for being a little rough and it still wears its working-class badge with pride. There is a strong sense of community here and the neighbourhood has managed to retain butcher shops and bakeries, along with other local enterprises that have been priced out of other areas. The sestiere has seen a recent revival of vibrant Jewish cultural life, with shops and kosher restaurants reflecting this.

The district is a pleasing paradox, being both family-friendly thanks to its two parks (the Savorgnan and the Groggia) and swimming pool, as well as the place to go for the best in wine bars and restaurants on the Fondamenta della Misericordia. So stay here if you have kids who need to let off steam, and stay here if you like to let off steam with a late-night tipple or two!