Santa Croce, Venice’s Least Touristy Sestiere
Santa Croce is over towards the north-west of Venice and is where you hit the Piazzale Roma bus station to get to the mainland. Small and densely-packed, the sestiere is bordered by the Grand Canal to the north and San Polo and Dorsoduro to the south-east and south. As you might imagine, all this area has been subject to many demolitions and development, not the least of which was in 1810 when they knocked down the church and monastery of Santa Croce, which originally gave their name to the district.
The Papadopoli Gardens were laid out in the area where the monastery once stood, over the canal from what is now the Santa Lucia Station. These gardens were designed by Bagnara in the English style and they are now open to the public, but they’ve been completely changed from their original design and are a lot smaller. Still worth visiting, though – “green lungs” in Venice are a bit rare…
The Least Touristy Sestiere in Venice?
Like Dorsoduro, Santa Croce has many narrow streets and little channels and is very close to the main important Venice sights, and as San Polo’s sister sestiere is probably the least touristy one in Venice. As a result, it tends not to be so expensive as other areas. Try Campo San Giacomo dell’ Orio in the evening for a couple of great bars – “Ai Prosecco” isn’t bad – and one of the best veggie-friendly (and most inexpensive) restaurants in Venice, La Zucca, is just around the corner. There are plenty of great pizzerias in Santa Croce, too.
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