Venice / Areas



The etymology of this sestiere of Venice is uncertain: the term Cannaregio may refer to the fact that it used to be an area covered by reeds, or perhaps from its canal which played a fundamental role in connecting with the mainland by its uniting the Grand Canal with the lagoon – hence its name Canal Regio, or Royal Canal.

The Cannaregio sestiere in Venice is one of the largest sestieri of Venice, the most northerly and, together with Castello, the most populated (over a third of the city’s residents live here). It has always been able to distinguish two separate souls of the area, though simultaneously in harmony with each other: one popular, the other noble.

The aristocratic part of Cannaregio is more or less that which faces the Grand Canal and which numbers among its palazzi some of the oldest and grandest in Venice (for example the Ca’ Vendramin), while the 'popular' zone centres around the two main tourist streets, the Lista di Spagna and the Strada Nova, known today as the journey from the station to the Rialto bridge.

The Cannaregio sestiere in Venice is however also noted for the presence of the oldest ghetto in the world, where in 1516 the city’s Jews were confined. The area has maintained its ethnic flavour, and consequently its tall buildings, the two synagogues and its traditional shops are among the area’s greatest attractions.

Leaving the throngs of people heading towards the Rialto and San Marco it is possible to admire facets of everyday life, charming in their simplicity, sun-faded houses with washing hanging out of windows, sandwiched in between religious edifices and quirky squares, among which one may mention the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, that of the Madonna dell’Orto (containing the greatest works of Tintoretto), the Campo dei Mori (with its ancient statues of the eponymous Mori – Moors, complete with turbans). Of particular interest is Ca’ d’Oro, considered one of the most beautiful palazzo on the Grand Canal, a perfect example of Gothic-Venetian architecture replete with traces of oriental elements.