Living in Venice: A Real Estate and Lifestyle Guide to Venice, Italy

Venice–“La Serenissima”–The Most Serene

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Owning a property in Venice opens up endless exciting opportunities to become a part of this unique and captivating city.

So small and intimate as to almost feel like a village and loved with a passion by long-time devotees and enchanted newcomers alike, Venice is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations on Earth—a place like no other between sky and lagoon—immersed in history, tradition, and art.

Venice is made up of six different districts, each known as a sestiere in Venetian—and of a group of smaller outlying islands—each offering a personality and vibe of its own yet all united in beauty and charm. The following gives a taste of each, along with some of their highlights.

San Marco

San Marco is the best known of all the Venetian sestieri and home to one of the most instantly recognizable open spaces in the world, St. Mark’s Square, along with other big-name cultural attractions, such as Palazzo Grassi and Teatro La Fenice. It’s an area of almost dual personality where commerce, luxury designer brands, and historic landmarks are situated just moments away from an altogether different Venice of quiet residential calles, campos, and canals tucked away from the tourist crowds.

San Polo

The ancient commercial heart of the city, San Polo is today a thriving district characterized by the historic Rialto Market (dating from the 11th century), famous for its fish, fruit and vegetable stalls, as well as a fine variety of specialist food shops, traditional bacari (bars), and interesting emporia dotted throughout a richly atmospheric network of tiny alleyways. It is also home to Venice’s largest city square—Campo San Polo—and the magnificent Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.


A delightful area in the southern part of Venice, Dorsoduro has long been favored by artists, writers, academics, and aesthetes who are drawn to its world-famous museums, including Punta Della Dogana, the Accademia, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection; fine restaurants; and quintessentially Venetian scenes which characterize this much-loved part of the city. The sestiere also encompasses the island of Giudecca, just across the boat-filled waters of the Giudecca Canal from the Zattere, the wide promenade on Dorsoduro’s southern embankment.


In the north of the city, Cannaregio is an up-and-coming area with a thriving commercial heart and peaceful residential neighborhoods with characterful real estate. It’s home to long, wide fondamente (banks) flanked by popular canal-side restaurants, the ancient Jewish Ghetto, the Fondamente Nove (Venice’s northern waterfront overlooking the lagoon), and wonderful churches offering delightful insights into an almost undiscovered Venice. There are plenty of shops along its busy main thoroughfare, running the length of the district from the station in the west all the way over to Campo Santi Apostoli in the east. The district offers easy access by vaporetto (water bus) to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello.


Venice’s largest sestiere, Castello lies to the east of the San Marco and Cannaregio districts and stretches to the Arsenale, Giardini, the Biennale pavilions, and beyond. Stepping away from the energy of the St. Mark’s Square district, Castello gradually transforms into a charming neighborhood of sleepy campos, laundry gently flapping in the breeze, and local businesses catering to a peaceful and traditional Venetian way of life.

Santa Croce

Just west of the Rialto area, off the main tourist trail, is Santa Croce. This pretty neighborhood has a strong community spirit and is home to one of Venice’s most neighborly squares, Campo San Giacomo Dell’Orio, renowned for its tree-shaded benches and well-regarded restaurants. Cultural attractions include Baroque Ca’ Pesaro (International Gallery of Modern Art), Palazzo Mocenigo at San Stae (Museum of Textiles, Costumes and Perfume), and Venice’s Natural History Museum at the Fondaco Dei Turchi on the banks of the Grand Canal.

The Lido

The Lido is a long, narrow (and wonderful!) island facing Venice’s southern waterfront offering open space, fresh air, the ability to get around by bike or car, and a relaxing change of scenery just outside central Venice. Quick and easy to reach day and night by the vaporetti water buses that regularly shuttle to and from Venice’s historic center, the Lido is perfect for recreation and offers sandy beaches and elegant and well-equipped bathing establishments along with a variety of sporting facilities for those who like to stay active.


One of the main islands of the Venice Lagoon, the tranquil and picturesque island of Murano is accessible around the clock via the vaporetti water buses operating to and from the main part of Venice. Murano is known all over the world for the ancient art of glass blowing. Among the attractions are numerous glass factories, the Museum of Glass (the Museo del Vetro based in the recently restored Palazzo Giustinian); and the wonderful 7th-century Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato, with its incredible stone mosaic floor.

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