San Polo

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San Polo is the heart of commercial Venice and the smallest of the six sestieri. It’s reached by crossing the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) which spans the Grand Canal. The shopping here is much more reasonable than that around Piazza San Marco.

One of the major attractions is the Erberia, a market which Casanova wrote about in his 18th century autobiography. Both wholesale and retail businesses still pepper this ancient site. At its center is San Giacomo di Rialto, the city’s oldest church. The district also encloses the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a repository of the works of Tintoretto. Campo San Polo is one of the oldest and widest squares, and one of the principal venues for Carnival.

San Polo is filled with moderately priced hotels and a large number of trattorie (informal Italian restaurants), many specializing in seafood. In general, the hotels and restaurants are cheaper here than along San Marco, but not as inexpensive as those around the train station in Cannaregio.