Venice Neighborhood Guide: Dorsoduro

Steve Stankiewicz

Departures’ Travel Guide to Venice

San Marco
Santa Croce
San Polo

“The museums of Dorsoduro are not to be missed,” says artist–cum–glassware designer and resident Marie Brandolini (see “Buying Murano Glass”). This sestiere, just across the Grand Canal from San Marco, has historically been an enclave of art and learning. It’s the site of Ca’ Foscari, the city’s main university. John Ruskin wrote The Stones of Venice in a nearby palazzo, and Robert Browning died in another. The Gallerie dell’Accademia opened here as an art school in 1750, and it’s now a museum—no wonder Peggy Guggenheim lived nearby. Crowds gather on Fondamenta Nani during the day for pistachio gelato at Lo Squero; at night they stand outside the Schiavi wine bar sipping vino and nibbling on mortadella topped with pepperoncini. In between, there might be a visit to the new Punta della Dogana contemporary art museum or one of the small design shops and traditional ateliers that dot the streets. Brandolini suggests strolling Fondamenta Zattere, the long waterfront promenade, making these stops along the way.

Gelateria lo Squero

Angelina Jolie was spotted here last summer, but locals have long known the pleasure of Lo Squero’s delicious pistachio gelato. At 990 Dorsoduro, Fondamenta Nani.


A reproduction of Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini portrait—with its famous witch’s eye mirror—hangs in the window of Stefano Coluccio’s atelier. Creating pieces with convex glass (which is said to bring good luck) is Coluccio’s passion, and his handmade mirrors reflect endless variations on the theme. $ From $85. At 1173 Dorsoduro, Sacca de la Toletta; 39-041/277-0617;

Antica Locanda Montin

This family-owned restaurant is known for its super-traditional decor, pergola garden and simple, honest pasta dishes. $ Dinner, from $40. At 1147 Dorsoduro, Fondamenta di Borgo; 39-041/522-7151;

Ca’ Rezzonico

This museum—housed in a palazzo that was rented by Robert Browning and Cole Porter—is dedicated to 18th-century Venice. Visitors get an up-close look at how nobles lived and of its recently restored Tiepolo frescoes. At 3136 Dorsoduro; 39-041/241-0100.


This bookstore has two locations: one with titles focusing on the sciences, the other oriented toward the arts, with a selection that is unrivaled in Venice. At 3225 Dorsoduro, Campiello dei Squelini;


Not for the faint of heart, but Gualtiero Salbego’s wearable art is undoubtedly original: starburst brooches or flower cuffs done in brightly colored resin and glass. He also has a line of shawls in pleated organza. At 3111 Dorsoduro, Rio Terà Canal; 39-041/520-1731;

fondazione bevilacqua la masa—palazzetto tito

The focus is on contemporary art; upcoming shows feature underwater installations and Japanese graphic design. At 2826 Dorsoduro; 39-041/520-8879.

Osteria ai 4 Feri

Always a bustling place, Ai 4 Feri has discovered a popular—and (in Venice, anyway) increasingly rare—formula: uncomplicated food at relatively gentle prices. Dinner, from $25. At 2754/A Dorsoduro, Calle Lunga San Barnaba; 39-041/ 520-6978.

Church of San Sebastiano

The Veronese paintings here are definitely worth a look, but equally interesting is the large portal done by modernist Italian architect Carlo Scarpa across the canal at Ca’ Foscari. At Fondamenta San Sebastian.

Enoteca Cantinone Gia Schiavi

Really a wine shop that sells food, Cantinone Già Schiavi offers some of the best Venetian tapas in town. It’s also a truly local alcove where groups of friends, wine in hand, linger by the canal. At 992 Dorsoduro, Fondamenta San Trovaso; 39-041/523-0744.

Cornici Trevisanello

Run by Pietro Trevisanello and his sister, Silvia, this workshop specializes in picture frames. Pietro crafts classic ones used in museums and galleries, while Silvia designs more ornate versions with glass pearls, leaves and flowers. At 662 Dorsoduro, Campo San Vio; 39-041/ 520-7779.


The red velvet slippers once worn by gondoliers and famous for their soles made of old bicycle tires can be found here in an infinity of colors. From $25. At 871 Dorsoduro, San Vio; 39-041/523-1163.


Architect Francesca Meratti has pieces from international designers, but it’s the works by local artisans that stand out: spatulas and organically shaped bowls in exotic woods (from $20), and Plexiglas necklaces shaped like ice cubes (from $185). At 2762 Dorsoduro, Campo San Barnaba; 39-041/522-4181;

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.