Santa Croce is one of Venice’s six central districts (sestieri). Home to a number of sumptuous palaces and museums, important churches, and Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio— one of the city’s prettiest squares—it is also where Venice’s busy Piazzale Roma bus station and vaporetto (water bus) hub is located.
Santa Croce has fewer big-name tourist sights than other districts like San Marco, home to St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Square, and the Doge’s Palace. Instead, this quieter neighborhood is a great place to get a feel for the more local side of Venice while still enjoying important artistic and historical sights like Palazzo Mocenigo, the Museum of Modern Art in Ca' Pesaro, the Natural History Museum at Fondaco dei Turchi, and the San Stae church.
Joining a small-group walking tour of Santa Croce is a great way to discover its lavish monuments along the Grand Canal and charming back canals and alleyways. Private tours can also include some of the sights in the bordering San Polo district, including the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and San Giacomo di Rialto, said to be the oldest church in Venice. You can also pair a private walking tour with a gondola ride and visit to highlights in the neighboring sestieri.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Santa Croce is the only district in Venice where cars are allowed, and is connected to the mainland by the Ponte della Libertà across the lagoon.
- Be sure to bring your camera, as Santa Croce is a particularly photogenic area of Venice.
- Santa Croce tours are on foot, so wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
How to Get There
Santa Croce is home to Venice’s main train station, bus terminal, and vaporetto hub. Trains here connect from the Marco Polo Airport, and from all major cities in the Veneto region and across Italy, including Florence and Rome.
When to Get There
As one of the most popular destinations in Europe, Venice can be very crowded during the summer months. Instead, visit in the early spring and late fall when the city is less crowded but the weather is mild.
Venice’s Six Sestieri
Venice has six central sestieri: Castello, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, San Marco, Santa Croce, and—the smallest—San Polo. In addition, the Floating City has two outlying districts, Giudecca and Lido, and the small islands of Torcello, Murano, and Burano.