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How to do Venice Like a Local

Sailing the Mediterranean from Venice, we’ve come to know this city of islands inside and out, and yes, it’s every bit as incredible as you hear. But there’s a lot more to Venice than its iconic, bucket-list sights like the Piazza San Marco, Saint Marc’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, and Doge’s Palace—we could go on. All of these places are certainly worth the trip. Just make sure you leave some time for Dorsoduro.

Dorsodoro is one of the six sestieri that make up the city, and while it’s a bit off the beaten path (or canal in this case), it happens to be home to some of the best things to see and do as a local in Venice. We love the quiet, less-crowded feel of Dorsoduro, which buzzes with a thriving community of artists, designers, and students, who come here for the area’s world-class art schools and museums.

In fact, museum-hopping is one of our favorite things to do in Dorsodoro. The Gallerie dell’Accademia, founded by Napoleon in 1807, features more than 20 rooms of paintings by the greats of the old Venetian School. Fans of modern art will enjoy the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, with its permanent and revolving exhibits of works by the 20th century masters. And the Ca’ Rezzonico, a marble-fronted palace designed in the 17th century, is worth a visit for the incredible architecture alone and the frescos that decorate its awe-inspiring spaces.

As for the artists of today, you’ll find them hanging out at Campo Santa Margherita, the urban heart of Dorsoduro. Browse the produce and fish markets, indulge in scoop of fresh-made gelato, and sit down for a spritz—a local cocktail made with either Campari or Aperol and some prosecco. With some of the best bars in the city here, you can party with the locals late into the night.

Dorsoduro is also one of the best places in Venice for cruise shopping. The prices here tend to be lower than in some of the city’s busier areas. Wander down Calle Sant’Agnese, where you’ll find everything from Murano glass jewelry to art galleries, and find the perfect piece of Venice to take home with you.

All this exploring is bound to make you hungry, and Dorsoduro doesn’t disappoint when it comes to restaurants. But we like to eat our way around the neighborhood by hopping between its bacari—cozy bars where you can try delicious (and reasonably priced) small-plate snacks any time of day. It’s the best way to sample a wide variety of Venetian delicacies.

One last fact about Dorsoduro: it’s home to the Squero di San Trovaso, one of the last remaining gondola workshops in Venice. So, if you visit Dorsoduro, not only can you ride in a gondola, but you might even get to see one in the making. It’s a rare chance to witness this time-honored Italian craftsmanship firsthand.

Venice simply gets better every time you visit, so we’re incredibly excited that beginning in 2019, we’ll have the most sailings from Venice we’ve ever offered, with two stunning ships—Celebrity Infinity® and Celebrity Constellation®—sailing the Mediterranean from this amazing city. And, if you want even more time to experience all the things we just described, our Venice City Stay gives you three luxurious nights to explore before you step aboard. So join us on a Mediterranean cruise, and let us show you the Venice we know and love.


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