Most visitors to Venice head directly to the San Marco district, but if you want to enjoy the quieter side of the city, don’t miss Dorsoduro. Home to important art collections, excellent restaurants, beautiful churches, and impressive architecture, the neighborhood has it all—with a fraction of the crowds.
Dorsoduro, one of the six Venetian districts (sestieri) in the city center, is located just across the Grand Canal from the more touristy San Marco. Walk across the wooden Accademia Bridge and along the canal to the Gallerie dell’Accademia—home to masterpieces by Titian, Tiepolo, and Veronese—and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, famous for its modern art. The 18th-century Ca' Rezzonico museum is one of the most sumptuous in the city, and the Church of San Sebastiano and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute are among the most ornate.
To really get a feel for Dorsoduro, join a walking tour led by a local guide who’s familiar with the district’s big-name landmarks and secret corners. Pair a Dorsoduro tour with a gondola ride or a Venice highlights tour that includes St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, and the Rialto Bridge.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tours of Dorsoduro require a bit of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- Because of the thinner crowds and outdoor spaces, the Dorsoduro district is easier to manage with kids.
- This district is known for its excellent restaurants serving traditional Venetian cuisine and cafés serving cicchetti, or Venetian-style tapas.
- If you’re looking to take an evening stroll, Fondamento della Zattere (along the Giudecca Canal) and the Campo Santa Margherita square are both great destinations at night.
How to Get There
Dorsoduro, just across the Grand Canal from San Marco, is easily reached by walking over the Accademia Bridge.
When to Get There
With views of San Marco to one side and the island of Giudecca to the other, Dorsoduro is particularly beautiful at night, just as the sun is setting. Plan to tour its sights by day and then linger at its restaurants and cafés after dark.
Venice's Six Sestieri
Venice has six districts—Castello, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, San Marco, Santa Croce, and San Polo—in addition to the outlying districts of Lido and Giudecca and Lido and the islands of Torcello, Murano, and Burano.