Venice / Areas



Venice takes on a special side in each one of its sestieri. Dorsoduro takes its name from the hard soil from which it arises (dorsoduro means 'hard backbone'). It is the most southerly sestiere of Venice, and runs from the Punta della Dogana reaching almost until Piazzale Roma.

Dorsoduro also extends beyond the Guidecca Canal to include the Guidecca island itself: the greatest Venetian island which has changed its identity several times throughout the passage of the centuries, passing from noble residence to monastery and extensive parkland and, after the fall of the Republic, military barracks, prison and working-class suburb. Today the island is known for the church of Il Redentore (the Redeemer), the masterpiece of Palladio.

United with San Marco in the 19th century by the Accademia bridge the sestiere of Dorsoduro is one of the best Venice walking areas, taking one through the city’s various riches, be they historical, cultural, artistic or simply the wealth of everyday life: through simple workers' areas to boisterous student quarters to silent luxury dwellings. The luxury area extends east and is characterised by stunning views of the lagoon, both from the Campo della Salute and from the promenade of the Zattere, so-called 'Walkway of the Venetians'.

Dorsoduro is also home to the most impressive collections of art, starting with the Accademia gallery, and the Peggy Collection located within the palazzo Venier dei Leoni. The Baroque interior of the church of Santa Maria della Salute is unmissable: built in 1603 according to designs by Pietro Longhena as a token of gratitude for the city’s escaping a terrible outbreak of plague. Longhena also began the design for Ca Rezzonico Palace, later completed by Massari: today the palazzo houses the Museum of the Seventeenth Century.

The heart of the Dorsoduro sestiere always remains Campo Santa Margherita, for its fabulous array of 14th and 15th century houses and for its market stalls, shops and commercial activity, and for its proximity to the university, which makes it a magnet for students and fun-seeking young people: those seeking the thrills of night-life should wander through Dorsoduro.

Venice has here many fascinating sides that are worth. The Squero di San Trovaso is also a must-see: this still-functioning workshop for the manufacture of gondolas is the last of its kind.