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How to spend a day in Dorsoduro, Venice’s authentic, lively culture-packed district loved by those in the know

How to spend a day in Dorsoduro, Venice’s authentic, lively culture-packed district loved by those in the know

Our microguides series is inspired by the slow travel movement, encouraging travellers to relax their pace and take a deep dive into one particular neighbourhood in a well-loved city. Rather than a whirlwind itinerary that aims to hit up every must-see attraction, these compact, close-up guides encourage you to zone in, take your time and truly explore like a local.

The ancient district or sestiere of Dorsoduro feels truly Venetian. Come here to escape the relentless crowds (and inflated prices) in and around St Mark’s Square, and to indulge in some of the most thrilling art and cultural experiences the city has to offer.

You’ll be able to ogle everything from contemporary and street art to Old Masters, in world-class museums; then souvenir shop direct from the workshops of Venice’s craftspeople. By day, in between seeing the sights, get blissfully lost in silent, canal-side streets.

As night falls, eat in cosy osterie or Michelin-rated restaurants, then hit Dorsoduro’s nightlife, which is positively energetic by Venetian standards. Alongside time-warp bacari wine bars full of locals gossiping and drinking, there are taverns with a bohemian vibe where you can nurse a drink well past midnight. What’s not to like? Those who visit Dorsoduro once usually come back for more.


Take a wander

Dorsoduro is rewarding walking territory, with something unexpected at every turn. Photo ops include Banksy’s The Migrant Child mural, near the Ponte di San Pantalon, and the best views of the Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge.

Check out the art

Gallerie dell’Accademia


Get to know your Titian from your Tintoretto at one of Venice’s headline sights, the Gallerie dell’Accademia. You can thank Napoleon: he nabbed the best art from Venice’s churches and put it on display here. For a breather from Baroque and Renaissance pomp, visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, with art from the 20th century onwards.

Go to church

Basilica Santa Maria della Salute was allegedly built by plague survivors to show their thanks to God. Its domes and spires still grace many a postcard, but tourists rarely venture inside to appreciate the art and frescoed ceilings. Talking of ceilings, fellow houses of worship San Pantalon and San Nicolo dei Mendicoli churches have ones to make you giddy.

Ride the canals

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