The city's largest sestiere, Castello, occupies the entire eastern part of the island of Venice. It is also the only sestiere that does not overlook the Gran Canale.
The area is first mentioned in the 8th century as Olivolo. This was one of the first settlements with commercial purposes, very similar to Rivo Alto. This area also served as a lookout point due to its location at the extreme tip. It later took the name Castello, presumably because of the size of the castle walls of the Arsenale. The Arsenal was a huge shipyard located in Castello, the heart of the Venetian commercial and war naval industry. The Arsenale was the industrial centre of Venice and was the largest shipyard in the world until the outbreak of World War II.
For centuries the sestiere of Castello was also the religious centre of the city. The ancient church of San Pietro di Castello was founded in the 9th century and was the cathedral of Venice from 1451 to 1807. Later the title of Venice Cathedral passed to St Mark's Basilica. The sestiere has many churches worth visiting such as the Church of Santa Maria Formosa and the Church of San Zaccaria. Also of great importance to the city's history are the Scuola Grande di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni and the Scuola Grande di San Marco.
The most popular and commercial area of Castello is the Riva degli Schiavoni. The district is also home to public parks such as the Giardini della Biennale, home of the famous Venice Biennale.
In Castello you can deepen your visit to Venice, discovering new points of view and attractions less beaten by "hit and run" tourism.