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Cannaregio – Venice

Venice - Cannaregio - Canal
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Cannaregio is one of the six Venice’s oldest sestriere (areas). Located in the northern side of the city its perimeter is delimited by the Lagoon, the Gran Canal and the Castello and St. Mark sestrieri.

The name Cannaregio probably came from the Cannaregio Canal that means Royal Canal (from the Italian Canal Regio). The district was built during the 11th century and its importance was strictly connected with its Canal, it was the principal route into the city for centuries. The district was mainly inhabited by working class people because the rich Venetian always built their Palaces facing the Gran Canal. At the beginning of the 16th century when the Venetian Jews were forced to live all together in what it will become the first European Ghetto, Cannaregio was the location chose by the government to house it. Part of the area was closed with gates and controlled by guard in order to be sure that no Jews could leave the district between sunset and sunrise. At the end of the 18th century during the Napoleon government the ghetto was abolished and everybody was free to choose where to live. A century later the construction of the Strada Nuova (New Street) started here in Cannaregio. Both a railway and a road bridges were built in order to connect Venice to the mainland.

Cannaregio experienced a vast development during the 15th century so its construction was deeply influenced by the renaissance style. The area is very different from the Medieval Venice and its unique look is testified by the fact that artists like Titian and Tintoretto had chosen to live here.

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Today the Cannaregio Canal is one of the most important in Venice, the only inner one crossed by the public transportation boats. However except for few areas Cannaregio is still very quiet and it is possible to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing walk around its beautiful streets. The area offers also many nice and quiet shops, traditional bakeries and artisanal gelaterie (ice-cream shops).

Also the historic Island of St. Michael’s Cemetery is linked with the Cannaregio sestriere.

San Polo – Venice

Venice - San Polo - Palaces
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Located along the Gran Canal San Polo is the smallest of the Venice’s sestrieri. San Polo is also one of the oldest districts and it is named after the Church of San Polo, a beautiful gothic church dedicated to the Apostle Paul. Since the beginning of the 11th century its ground hosts the Venice’s market where today it is still possible to buy local fresh products or simply enjoy the unique atmosphere. The Rialto Bridge is the most famous attraction of the area: the views photographed from the bridge are famous all around the world.

Some of the most renowned spots of Venice are located in the San Polo area, however much of the district is quite and tourists that are looking for some peace can wondering around its lovely campi (squares) or simply relax sipping an aperitivo with the locals in one of the many little bar of the area.

Campo San Polo is the second biggest open space in the city after St. Mark’s square; during the summer’s months an open-air cinema is hosted in this beautiful piazza.

Things to see

The western part of San Polo is mostly famous for its churches. The legend says that the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto is the oldest one in Venice, while the impressive Chiesa dei Frari is among the most famous churches of the lagoon.

Visitors that are looking for some shopping, but wanted to avoid tourist traps, will appreciate the narrow lanes of San Polo where many little and interesting stores are located.