Venice, Italy

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History of Venice

The Beginning

Venice was established after the fall of the Roman Empire.

For many of Venice's early years, it was caught up in a political battle (figuratively speaking) between Byzantine and anti-Byzantine rule.

According to the Britannica, "The unusual legal and political position of the small independent duchy, situated in territorial isolation between two great empires, contributed greatly to its function as a trading intermediary."

Venice was originally led by a Doge, which eventually became a publicly elected position. You can think of a Doge as similar to a duke, However, if you tour the Doge's palace in Venice, I think you'll get more "king" vibes, but I digress. His power was more similar to that of a Duke.

The Middle

Venice developed itself as an independent city state. It continued trading with the middle east and the rest of the world.

Venice expanded it's control in addition to their trade reach. They worked hard to eliminate potential threats to their thriving trade by taking control of nearby menaces.

According to the New World Encyclopedia, by the late 13th century "Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it dominated Mediterranean commerce, with 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships.

The Now

Venice is now a thriving city that lives off of tourism, and it's been that way for about 150 years. Although, now, tourism is at an all-time high.

Annually it is estimated that 20 million tourists visit Venice. While this certainly stimulates the economy, many people argue that this mass amount of tourism is actually hurting Venice. While there definitely seems to be truth to this, it's certainly not the only problem Venice has.

There's certainly a reason that visitors from all over the world flock to Venice. There's nothing quite like this city of canals, old buildings, and confusing walkways. Venice is something special, something you can't find just anywhere in the world.

If you're worried about contributing to Venice's tourism problem, but still want to be able to experience the stunning beauty, consider going and staying over night. After doing some reading, Venetians seems to have a biggest issue with day-trippers from cruise ships.

Venice Neighborhood Guide


To view an interactive version of this map or save it for later, you can view it on Google Maps.

San Marco

If you know anything about Venice, then you probably already know that this is the busiest and most popular neighborhood in Venice.

Staying in this neighborhood can cost you hundreds of euros per night, especially if you find something right on the water.

Everything in San Marco is more expensive: hotels, souvenirs, food, Prosecco. Literally everything.

However, this is where many of Venice's famous sites are located, so even if you want to see the calmer (more local) side of Venice, you'll still definitely spend some time in San Marco.

In this neighborhood, you'll find the Rialto Bridge, Basillica di San Marco, Doge's Palace, and the Archaeological Museum of Venice.

This neighborhood is crowded all-year-round, but you'll find it to be less crowded in winter and spring (excluding time in February for the big festival). Keep in mind that the Piazza di San Marco tends to flood in the winter, so you'll want to bring galoshes if you plan on visiting at that time.

San Polo

The Rialto Bridge connects San Polo to San Marco.

This is another busy neighborhood; however, the further away you get from the Rialto the quieter it gets. Still, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and people. The prices in San Polo (if you walk away from the Rialto) are much more reasonable than the one's in San Marco.

In fact, San Polo is where we found a few of our favorite restaurants! Yes, that includes affordable lunch options.

Staying in San Polo can be more affordable than San Marco; however, it isn't necessarily cheaper. It's a nice location because it's central to all of Venice's neighborhoods.


Guidecca is an adorable island straight across from the Venice mainland. Guidecca is a residential area, and you'll find a lot of apartments on the island.

It's a lot quieter than San Marco and San Polo. The only way you can get to it is by boat. The water buses have a couple of stops in Guidecca.

Guidecca also has a couple of grand churches, so it's definitely worth taking a walk through. There are a few restaurants on the water, which give you a wonderful view of Venice.

Walking through Guidecca, you'll notice there's no a lot of tourists.

Santa Croce

No matter where you're coming from, when you arrive in Venice, you'll arrive in this neighborhood.

I didn't spend much time in this neighborhood, but according to Trip Savvy, it's one of the oldest and least visited neighborhoods in Venice.


This neighborhood has a lot of history, and a good portion of it is residential.

While parts of it might be busy, you'll also come across spots where you don't see a soul, which will feel odd after being around tons of crowds.

This is a great neighborhood to take one of the free tours in. There's a ton of history here that you likely won't hear about otherwise.


Parts of this neighborhood are quiet. Yes, specifically the parts farther away from San Marco.

There's a super cute square at the heart of this neighborhood that boasts beautiful statues.

It's definitely a great area to take a stroll through.


This is another big neighborhood that is definitely worth a walk through.

You might be able to find some affordable hotels in this area that have easy access to San Marco and the rest of Venice.

Dorsoduro boasts two stunning art museums, which are a must-see for art lovers.

Venice Hotel Guide

Which Neighborhood Should I stay in?

This is such a fabulous question. And, the answer to it really depends on what you want.

If you want to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle and just a few blocks away from a ton of historic sites, you'll want to stay in San Marco.

However, most of the hotels in this neighborhood are hella pricey.

Notice how I said most of the hotels are pricey? Well, you can actually find a few budget-friendly hotels in this area.

Still, if you stay in another neighborhood entirely, you can probably find something even cheaper.

You can find good deals in certain areas within Cannaregio, San Polo, and Castello.

You can use the following map to find the best deals in every neighborhood.