Venice: Places to Explore


San Marco and Dorsoduro

The sestiere Dorsoduro (named for its "hard back" solid clay foundation) is across the Grand Canal to the south of San Marco. It's a place of monumental churches, meandering canals, modern art galleries, the city's finest art museums, and a promenade called the Zattere, built in the early 16th century as a loading dock for timber shipped down from the Alpine regions. Now, on the Zattere, on sunny days you'll swear half the city is out for a passeggiata, or stroll. The eastern tip of the peninsula, the Punta della Dogana, was once the city's customs point; it became accessible to the public in 2009 when the old customs house was reopened as a contemporary art museum showcasing the François Pinault Collection. At the western end of the sestiere is the Stazione Marittima, where mammoth cruise ships line the dock all year-around.

Dorsoduro is also home to the Gallerie dell'Accademia, which has an unparalleled collection of Venetian painting, and the gloriously restored Ca' Rezzonico, which houses the Museo del Settecento Veneziano (Museum of 18th-Century Venice). Another of its landmark sites, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, has a fine selection of 20th-century art.

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