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Occupying almost all of the area east of the Rialto Bridge and Sant Mark’s, Castello is Venice’s largest neighbourhood, and is the only sestiere without direct access to the Grand Canal. Of all the sestieri it is probably least frequented, and for that reason it arguably retains the most authentic character.
Castello’s most important physical feature is the Arsenale, a massive complex of shipyards and armouries where Venetian shipbuilders were once able to assemble a ship in as little as a day. If San Marco was the civic and religious heart of Venice, then the Arsenale was its muscles; much of the Maritime Republic’s power over the Mediterranean emanated from this single place. Though it’s shipbuilding days have long since ended, it still remains a powerful presence in the city, its seemingly boundless and austere walls still contain a naval base, and are also now home to the Venice Biennale, an event that transforms Castello from a sleepy residential area into a bustling artistic centre every other year.
Castello’s western border is surprisingly close to St. Mark’s Square, meaning that it boasts some of the longest stretches of walkable lagoon-front in Venice with unbeatable views of the skyline, particularly at dusk when the sun slips away behind the silhouetted domes and bell towers of the city.
Much of life in Castello centres around Via Garibaldi, a wide open street (it’s actually the only ‘via’ in the city) lined with shops, lively bars and restaurants, which makes this sestiere feel almost like a small town in its own right. Close by you can also find some of Venice’s fairly rare green space: the shady tree-lined Viale Garibaldi, the Giardini Pubblici (which also host many of the Biennale’s pavilions) and the umbrella pines of Sant’Elena island are all within a ten-minute walk.
This sestiere is a great choice for those who want to explore off the beaten path while still being within easy reach of Venice’s main attractions, and Truly Venice offers a selection of the best apartments in Castello which will ensure you get the most out of your stay.
Cluster of apartments located in the same Palazzo, offering hospitality to larger groups of guests