Santa Croce Venice

Santa Croce is one of the six sestieri (districts) in historical Venice. It's located in the northwestern part of the city. If you want to arrive in Venice by road, you have to pass through this sestiere. 

It's known for being a bit off-the-beaten-path compared to other areas. Thus it offers a more local vibe. Santa Croce has a good variety of eating options, depending on what you're looking for. 

Santa Croce provides a nice mix of history, local culture, and some hidden gems for art lovers.

Santa Croce Historic Information

In old times, the sestieri Santa Croce and San Polo together were known as a single area called Luprio. The name came from the fact that these areas were marshy areas, full of dangerous animals such as wolves. 

During the 10th century, the Venetians undertook land reclamation projects. This led to solidify the islands. They also created a more extensive network of canals. 

This process eventually led to the separation of Luprio into the distinct sestieri of San Polo and Santa Croce that we know today. After various reclamations, the marshes became vegetable gardens and vineyards.

The present sestiere takes its name from the church of Santa Croce. This church is no longer visible as Napoleon's troops destroyed it. This sestiere is divided into two parts. 

The eastern part is the old part. This area is rich in history and features many medieval structures. The western part was developed mainly in the 20th century. 

This part includes the Piazzale Roma, a large square that acts as Venice's bus terminal. It's also where you'll find the Tronchetto, a man-made island that serves as a parking lot for cars and buses.

Santa Croce is located in the western part of Venice. It is bordered by the Grand Canal to the north, San Polo to the east and the Dorsoduro district to the south. It is easy access from major transportation hubs. Piazzale Roma itself within this sestiere. and the Santa Lucia train station.

The best attractions in Santa Croce:

Though Santa Croce isn't Venice's most famous district, still it has certain charms. It offers a quieter and more local experience than San Marco or Rialto. Here are some of the best attractions in Santa Croce:

Ca' Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art: This stunning palace on the Grand Canal houses important collections of 19th- and 20th-century of paintings and sculptures. One can see the works by Gustav Klimt and Auguste Rodin here. If you're an art enthusiast, this is a must-see.

Museo di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum): This museum, located in the Fondaco dei Turchi a medieval palace on the Grand Canal. This is a great place to learn about the natural world, particularly the flora and fauna of the Venetian lagoon. It's a good option for families with kids.

Palazzo Mocenigo: If you have interest in the history of the city's textiles, costumes and perfume then visit Palazzo Mocenigo. This museum gives you a taste of what the 17th and 18th-century nobleman of Venice used to wear. It also showcases other accessories and furnishings  that build a picture of a Venetian days gone by.

Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista: This 13th-century confraternity school is a masterpiece of Renaissance works. It's home to a stunning collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. These include works by Palma Giovane, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and Longhi. Since 1369, the Scuola has been home to a valuable reliquary. This amazing piece of Venetian Gothic jewellery holds two pieces of the True Cross. These holy fragments inspired a famous series of Venetian paintings called the "Miracles of the Cross".

Church of San Giacomo dall'Orio: This ancient church dates back to the 9th century. It features a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural styles. You can find works of Veronese, Paolo Veneziano and other Venetian masters in this church.

Chiesa di San Nicolò da Tolentino (Tolentini Church): This 17th-century church is known for its Baroque interior and impressive dome. The high altar is done by Baldassare Longhena.

Wandering the backstreets and canals: Get lost in the charm of Santa Croce by walking around. You'll find hidden gems like charming squares, local shops, and authentic restaurants.

Exploring Santa Croce's Culinary Scene

Santa Croce may not be Venice's foodie hotspot, but it packs a delightful punch! Dive into local life at cozy trattorias. You may choose Alla Ferrata or Ai Garoti for classic Venetian dishes

Explore the city's unique tradition of bàcari - tiny bars serving cicchetti (Venetian tapas). Have fun at Bacaro Quebrado or Arcicchetti Bakaro! Be sure to try the freshest seafood at Osteria Trefanti. 

Pasta lovers can savor bigoli in salsa d'anatra (thick spaghetti with duck sauce) or pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup). 

Need a quick bite? Grab a slice of pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) and don't forget to pair it with a delicious local Venetian wine. As you wander Santa Croce's charming streets, keep an eye out for hidden culinary gems. Your taste buds will thank you!

Car Parking at Santa Croce

Venice is a car-free city with canals instead of roads. The Santa Croce district is the only place in Venice where you can park your car. Following are two main areas where you can park:

Tronchetto: This is a large, man-made island just across the causeway from Venice. It functions as Venice's main parking lot. Here both open-air and covered parking spaces are available. Around 4000 cars can be parked here and the parking fee is around €30 for 24 hours. Book your car park at Tronchetto.

Piazzale Roma: This large square is Venice's bus terminal and also has a parking garage. It's the most sought after parking area as it is closest to Venice's central area. But it is also expensive as it'll cost around €35 - €45 per day. Book your car park at Piazzale Roma.

You can get more information about parking in Venice from our Where to park in Venice page.

Are there luggage storage options in Santa Croce?

Santa Croce itself doesn't have many advertised baggage storage options. You can find luggage lockers or baggage storage services near Piazzale Roma or the train station. For more information, visit our Luggage Lockers in Venice and Baggage Storage in Venice pages.

Tips to explore Santa Croce

Here are some tips to explore Santa Croce:

  • Take a walking tour: Join a guided walking tour to learn about the history and hidden corners of Santa Croce.
  • Explore by water: While gondolas are a classic choice, consider a private canal tour or a vaporetto ride for a unique perspective of the district.
  • Relax in Campo San Giacomo dall'Orio: This lively square is a great place to people-watch. Soak up the atmosphere, and grab a coffee or a drink at a local cafe.
  • Comfortable shoes are key: Santa Croce is best explored on foot. So wear comfortable shoes for navigating the charming labyrinthine streets.
  • Consider using a map: We strongly suggest using our Venice map. It will help you navigate the district and discover hidden gems.

Remember, Santa Croce offers a chance to experience a more local and authentic side of Venice. Embrace the relaxed pace, wander its charming streets, and discover its hidden treasures!