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Guide to Stay in Venice

Best for luxury: San Marco

The sestiere of San Marco has been the nucleus of Venice for more than a millennium. Many of Venice’s visitors make a beeline for this spot, spend a few hours here, then head for home without staying for even one night. But if you’re looking for luxury, stay around here to make the most of the city’s plushest hotels, the most elegant cafés and the swankiest shops.

Best for architecture and art: Dorsoduro

Some of the finest minor domestic architecture in Venice is concentrated here and the area’s superb collection of galleries makes it the perfect base for art lovers. The Gallerie dell’Accademia is the highlight, but there’s also Scuola Grande dei Carmini and the Guggenheim Collection.

Best for daily Venetian life: San Polo and Santa Croce

The focal points of daily life in San Polo and Santa Croce are the sociable open space of Campo San Polo and the Rialto area, once the commercial heart of the Republic and still the home of a market that’s famous far beyond the city’s boundaries. The bustle of the stalls and the unspoilt bars are a good antidote to cultural overload.

Best for backwaters: Cannaregio

The pleasures of this sestiere are generally more a matter of atmosphere than of specific sights, but you shouldn’t leave Venice without seeing the Ghetto, the first area in the world to bear that name and one of Venice’s most evocative quarters.

Best for culture: Central Castello

Castello’s central building is the immense Gothic church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (or Zanipolo), the pantheon of Venice’s doges. The museums lie in the southern zone – the Querini-Stampalia picture collection, the museum at San Giorgio dei Greci, and the Museo Diocesano’s sacred art collection.

Best for city views: Eastern Castello

Sights are thinly spread in the eastern section of the Castello sestiere, and a huge bite is taken out of the area by the dockyards of the Arsenale, yet the slab of the city immediately to the west contains places that shouldn’t be ignored – the Renaissance San Francesco della Vigna and the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, for example. East of the Arsenale, the entire waterfront offers panoramas of the city.