Venice is a city whose beauty and expensiveness are on a par, and we all know how beautiful Venice is. It’s also a city full of tourists who visit St Marco’s Square, the Ponte Rialto and all the surrounding areas, making it sometimes quite frustrating to walk around there due to the amount of people that there is. Fancy lower prices and less people? Visit the Dorsoduro.
Venice is a city divided in six sestieri, which translates as districts in English. We have the two most famous and popular ones, San Polo and San Marco, both in the centre of the city, where most of the tourist attractions are, and then we have the other four, Canareggio in the north, Castello in the east, Santa Croce in the west and, finally, Dorsoduro in the south. Today’s article talks about the Dorsoduro, this part of the city that receives its name from it possibly being on a much more stable terrain, its name translating to something along the lines of ‘strong spine’. So why is this area special? Read on.
On my last travel to Florence let’s just say I wasn’t swimming in money. Accustomed to paying around about 10-15€ for a hostel bed around Europe, I was astounded at the hostel prices so I booked one of the Venice apartments which came out to be much cheaper. When I ventured out of the hostel and went to have something to eat around the area of San Polo and San Marco, I realised that it was terribly expensive, paying 10€ for a microwaveable lasagna that was frozen inside. Also, for an espresso (I couldn’t afford the latte) they would charge me obscene amounts. I’d had enough. I then planned to cut my stay in Venice short due to this reason and went for a walk trying to think where I’d go next. On this walk, I crossed the Ponte dell’Accademia to go towards the church of Santa Maria la Salute and it was like being in another city on the other side. Santa Maria la Salute is a majestic church with a great dome on the tip of the Dorsoduro, overlooking the sea, a stunning view that nobody should miss, and very few tourists in sight.
I then turned around and made my way inside the Dorsoduro, crossing the small bridges until I reached the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, a museum that holds some of the most important paintings by 20th century artists such as Picasso, Dalí and Magritte. Moving further inwards I arrived to Campo Santa Margherita, a spacious square without many people where I thought “this is life” as I sat in the sun for a decently-priced coffee and read my newspaper.
It turns out that Dorsoduro is where the University of Venice is, so it’s a student area. It’s full of bars and restaurants that sell traditional Italian and Venetian cuisine (properly cooked ones this time) at affordable prices and there aren’t that many tourists around so you won’t feel overwhelmed. It’s ideal if you want to spend a relaxing time enjoying the beautiful buildings and canals, among which the Squero di San Trovaso, a beautiful dockyard, or Ca’ Rezzonico. Also, if you fancy any nightlife in Venice, you won’t find it anywhere else but in the bars at the Dorsoduro, where young tourists and Venetian students mix and have a great time. Spending time here will give you a totally different view on the beautiful city of Venice.
Venice is a city of luxury but, if you’re on a budget, the Dorsoduro provides the best alternative for a great stay in apartments in Venice.