Venice city breaks
Gondolas and Gothic architecture galore!
If northern Italy were a crown, Venice would surely be its central jewel. One of the country's most beautiful and historic destinations, it's characterised by canals and bridges, which connect 118 islands along the coast of the Adriatic. Venice is a place where you step back in time, travel by gondola and waterbus, and admire outstanding feats of architecture. Every street boasts its own magnificent church or palace: from the Piazza San Marco to the Doge's Palace, Venice is brimming with world-famous, spectacular sights.
But where to stay when considering a Venetian getaway? Well, there are six romantic sestieri (districts) to choose from, each boasting buildings which date back hundreds of years. Here at HomeAway, we have hundreds of Venice apartments which cover each and every corner of the city, so whatever your budget or desire, there's a HomeAway holiday rental to suit. Simply read on for our suggestions of where to call home for the holidays.
Best places to visit in Venice
Cannaregio comprises the north-western area of Venice, and much of it has remained unchanged for centuries. Evidence of habitation here goes back over 1,000 years, so for lovers of history and heritage, there's surely no better place. There are dozens of traditional restaurants, nestled between ancient churches, and the neighbourhood affords you a peaceful place to call home. It's well within easy reach of the city's main attractions, but has a couple of its own to proffer too: why not spend an afternoon perusing the Wagner Museum, or try your luck in the Venice Casino in the evening?
Dorsoduro is one of the most vibrant Venetian neighbourhoods, and at its heart is the Campo Santa Margherita. A spot brimming with coffee shops, street markets and antique stalls, it boasts dozens of beautiful buildings, including the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and the Accademia, one of the city's greatest art galleries. If you'd rather peruse modern art than the works of the great Masters however, you'll find the Peggy Güggenheim Collection here too, which houses works by Picasso, Kandinsky and Dali. Afterwards, take a stroll along the Zattere to the Squero, filled with gondoliers' workshops.
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San Polo may be the smallest of Venice's six sestieri, but it's famed for the Rialto Bridge, one of the city's most recognised landmarks. Completed in 1591 to replace a former bridge which fell, it's one of four which span the Grand Canal, but the oldest of them all. San Polo is also the site for Venice's main daily market, which has been taking place here since 1097. Leather handbags and gloves are found alongside fresh, local produce, but don't worry if you don't fancy cooking yourself: much of it is sold to nearby trattorias for their evening menu, which specialise in delicious and authentic seafood dishes.
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Castello is the city's largest district, built around a naval dockyard which dates back to the 13th century. Here, you'll find some of Venice's main attractions, including the Scuola di San Marco, Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, and the Bienniale Gardens. The Scuola di San Marco was originally home to one of the six Catholic brotherhoods, as its elaborate decoration makes evident: the facade is adorned with intricately carved marble statues and reliefs. The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, meanwhile, is one of the city's most impressive, Dominican churches, and housed all graves of Doges after the 15th century.
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San Marco houses the most famous of Venice's attractions, including the Doge's Palace, La Fenice Theatre and the Piazza San Marco. The latter has been the centre of Venice for centuries, and houses the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, one of the most beautiful Byzantine buildings in the world. It's certainly the most impressive church in Venice: hundreds of tourists travel here to gaze up at its opulent design, characterised by gilded mosaics and intricate carvings. It's a truly amazing experience - the sheer abundance of precious stones and gold mosaics is breathtaking.
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Santa Croce may be the least known of Venice's districts, but it's home to a number of great Venetian churches, including the Churches of San Giacomo dell'Orio and San Nicolo da Tolentino. It also boasts a variety of excellent restaurants in its pretty, cobbled squares, which come alive in the evening with traditional music and street performances. The Ca Pesaro, one of the most important art galleries in Italy, is also here, and houses a wealth of contemporary artworks by International artists. If looking for a pretty place to call home during your stay in Venice, Santa Croce's Papadopuli Gardens make it the natural choice.
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