Sestiere Cannaregio Venice

Cannaregio is the norternmost sestiere of mainland Venice. It is home to both the central railway station and to the only real shopping street of the city (Strada Nuova). Its main attractions are the Ghetto, the Madonna dell’Orto Church, the Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church and the Ca d’Oro.

Sestiere Cannaregio Venice

Useful information

Cannaregio is very close to most main attractions and from the vaporetto stops on the north side of the district it is very easy to visit the the islands. This part of the district tends to be quieter than most parts of the mainland.

History and description

Madonna dell'Orto Church Venice
Santa Maria dell’Orto Church

The name of the sestiere Cannaregio in Venice derives from the word cannetti. In the old days, when the water around the city was much less crowded, the northwest side of what is now Venice was characterized by its many reed lands (canna means “reed”).

This changed in the 16th century. A settlement was then founded behind the present railway station, intended primarily for ordinary workers and artisans. This part of the district is still characterized by its low, simple houses. The further east one goes, the more beautiful and also, the better maintained, the houses become.

Another characteristic of the district is that the large canals that cross it in an east-west direction are all flanked by wider streets. These are called fondamenta in Venice.

Because of the unique character of Venice, there are no real shopping streets similar to the ones in other big cities. The only exception is the Strada Nuova, which runs more or less parallel to the Grand Canal from the central station to the east side of the sestiere.

In addition to having the widest street in the city, Cannaregio also boasts its narrowest alley. This is the Calle Varisco, which is only 56 cm wide.

North of the Strada Nuova run the three wider east to west canals mentioned above. The buildings along these canals are usually no more than three stories tall. Since the ground floors of most of these houses have been converted into restaurants and/or cafes, usually with outside terraces, it is very cozy.

A small part of the district is occupied by what used to be the Jewish Ghetto.

Cannaregio tourist attractions

The biggest attractions are located in the east side of the district, closer to the Rialto Bridge.

Sestiere Cannaregio Venice