Getting lost in the Castello district of Venice

There really is no other place like Venice. It’s unique location built on low islands in a lagoon in Northern Italy, along with it’s old and beautiful architecture, history and culture make it a must see destination for tourists. In fact, sometimes the amount of tourists in Venice can be truly overwhelming.

San Marco, the center of Venice, is the main place where the hordes gather, and rightly so as the Duomo San Marco and Doge’s Palace tower over Piazza San Marco, while on the waterfront and canals Gondoliers offer romantic gondola rides through the heart of Venice. Although San Marco is obviously the most popular area in the city, I chose to stay in this area after looking at a few hotel sites (such as this one), as it was easy to get to the Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge areas, which turned out to be the most popular areas of the city.

Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy

Piazza San Marco

On the day that we visited the Rialto Bridge, we made our way to Piazza San Marco and hoped to find our way from there by following the hordes of tourists. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but there was only a certain amount of time before I had to get the hell out of there and turned down a random street in hope that I could find another, more quieter way to the bridge.

Wandering in the general direction that I felt we should be going, we wandered through quiet streets and alleys, crossing canals and turning around at dead ends. The area that we had ended up in was the Castello district of the city, and I had immediately realised that this was the real Venice. A place where we could really enjoy this interesting city.

A canal in Castello in Venice, Italy

A canal in Castello

Wandering aimlessly, we got blissfully lost in Castello, walking along quiet canals where the odd Gondola floated lazily along, and only occasional tourists would pass by. We discovered churches and piazzas that we never would have thought to visit, and there were little shops and cafes that should have been teeming with tourists, but were near empty.

A leaning campanile (bell tower) in Venice, Italy

A leaning campanile (bell tower) in Castello

Santa Maria Formosa Church in Venice, Italy

Santa Maria Formosa Church

Eventually, as we managed to find our way towards the Rialto Bridge, the hordes of tourists returned, and if I didn’t really want to see the bridge, I would have turned back to enjoy Castello some more.

For the rest of our time in Venice, we ventured away from San Marco, and the other areas of Venice were similar, but so much more quieter. If you’re travelling to Venice, let yourself get lost in it’s streets and alleys. This is how you will discover the real Venice.

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11 comments… add one
  • I will not mind getting lost here 🙂 This is such a wonderful place 🙂

    • Dean Wickham Feb 12, 2013

      Hi Wends. Yes this is one of those places where you actually WANT to get lost 😉

  • Zubi Travel Feb 2, 2013

    I think Venice is the best city to be lost in… I remember going from Rialto to San Marco and finding Teatro La Fenice, not so impressive from the outside but the guided tour was quite an experience.
    Zubi Travel recently posted..Caribbean DelightsMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham Feb 12, 2013

      I remember passing Teatro la Fenice when I was wandering between those two places. Sounds like a should have gone in to check it out. Next time!

  • Cheryl Feb 3, 2013

    A part of Italy I haven’t yet visited! I really need to get there. =)
    Cheryl recently posted..Expat Living: Deborah from Franco Mum in Nice, France.My Profile

  • I have never been, but this seems like the perfect place to wander.

    • Dean Wickham Feb 12, 2013

      Hi Stephanie. There are few things better than wandering around Venice.

  • Deb Feb 25, 2013

    Yes, getting lost is the best way to see Venice. Although for some reason, Dave had an amazing sense of direction while we were there. I just followed him everywhere because he always knew exactly where we were. I wonder if it’s a sign that we should move there:-)

    • Dean Wickham Mar 5, 2013

      Hi Deb, I recon that you should take it as a sign! Time to move there I think 😉

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