Castello, the largest of Venice’s six sestiere, or neighborhoods, stretches from the center of the town, near Rialto in the west to the Arsenale and Giardini Gardens in the east. Castello is a quiet neighborhood, where tourists can still experience deserted squares and beautifully intimate park spaces. Check out our guide below to plan a perfect day in this exciting neighborhood in Italy.
Stroll down Venice’s widest street
Via Garibaldi, which is actually a filled-in canal, is the widest street in all of Venice. It is lined with small shops, fantastic bars and lovely cafes that have a unique atmosphere. It feels like Via Garibaldi is a little self-contained village in itself, where locals spend their days. Besides its modern shops, Via Garibaldi is also home to a fantastic outdoor market selling fish, fresh fruit and vegetables on weekday mornings. Via Garibaldi is the lively heart of the Castello sestiere!
Enjoy the beautiful giardini
Castello’s Giardini stands out amongst the other green spaces in the city of Venice. The Giardini invites Venice’s visitors to explore beautiful nature in a quiet environment. The second part of the Giardini, which is home to the national pavilions, is open for special exhibitions during Venice’s Biennales. The fascinating architecture from the 1930s up to the 1980s, with buildings by renowned architects Alvar Aalto and Gerrit Rietveld, can be explored. Visitors are recommended to continue walking through the neighborhood’s public gardens up until the tip of the island.
Have a great afternoon snack
Venice’s widest street, Via Garibaldi, is home to numerous great restaurants and bars that invite visitors to enjoy a great lunch or a nice drink in the afternoon. Bar Mio, just across from Il Nuovo galleon, is a small and intimate bar, where guests can explore authentic Venetian culture. Bar Mio is renowned amongst Venice’s locals as serving the best tramezzini, a type of sandwich that is served in white toast with crab, ham or cheese, in the entire Castello district. It is perfect for a snack in the afternoon, accompanied by a cold local beer or a relaxing glass of wine.
Via Garibaldi, Venice, Italy, +39 041 521 1361
Buy fresh produce from a boat
After a snack and stroll on Via Garibaldi, continue along the left-hand side of the street until you reach the canal. There, you will find a popular produce boat, where locals go to buy fresh fruit and vegetables in the morning. This will give you the opportunity to take part in a local custom and mingle with locals while purchasing high-quality produce.
Take an authentic picture
Ponte di Quintavalle is a wooden, 45-meter-long bridge that stretches across the Canale di San Pietro and connects the mainland of Castello with the island of San Pietro. Ponte di Quintavalle is the perfect spot to take an authentic picture, as it offers postcard-like views on to the Canale with its rows of boats, boatyards and colorful houses. You will also find fishing nets and clothes hanging outside the houses, allowing visitors to sneak a peak at typically Venetian life.
Church of San Pietro di Castello
The Church of San Pietro di Castello, which is located on the island of San Pietro, is home to the famous throne of St. Peter. The church, once the official church of Venice, is an impressive specimen of 16th-century architecture with a bell tower in Renaissance style. Inside the church, visitors can admire the throne of St. Peter, a work of art made of marble and Muslim burial stone. The throne is decorated with Arabic motifs and verses from the Koran, bringing fascinating aspects of culture to Venice.
Relax on the island San Pietro
The island of San Pietro is the perfect spot to relax and spend an afternoon in the sun. Next to the church of San Pietro, there is a lovely garden, where locals tend to sit, read, talk and enjoy the day. Given that the island is very small, you will experience a calm atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of the touristy quarters of Venice. There is only one small bar, frequented by both locals and tourists alike, on the island that offers coffee, snacks and an outstanding spritz.
Admire fantastic architecture
To admire outstanding architecture in the Castello district, go to the Scuola di San Marco, located on Campo di Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in Venice. The impressive piece of Italian architecture was first built by the Confraternity of San Marco in the early 13th century. Confraternities, or brotherhoods, played a major part in Venezia’s past and were often responsible for some of the most impressive buildings. The building’s southern façade, with exquisite marble stone statues, is truly marvelous to look at.
The Arsenale di Venezia
The Arsenale di Venezia was one of the largest pre-industrial production centers in the world and the heart of the Venetian naval industry from the 13th century onwards. It stretches over an area of 46 hectares and was renowned for its unique ship-building techniques. The most breathtaking architectural feature of the Arsenale di Venezia is the Porta Magna, which functions as the port’s main gate. Today, the Arsenale is mostly used by the Italian army and is only accessible for visitors during the yearly Biennale of Venice.
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