Dorsoduro Walking Tour, Venice (Self Guided)

Dorsoduro is one of the six districts of Venice, whose name translates as “hard bridge” from Italian, due to the area's relatively high terrain. The city's highest spots, along with Giudecca Island and Isola Sacca Fisola, are found here. Dorsoduro is home to some of Venice's most picturesque canals, historic locations and cultural venues, including Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Campo San Barnaba and Campo Santa Margherita.
If modern art and historic architecture combined sounds like your kind of fun, Dorsoduro is the right place to go.
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Dorsoduro Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Dorsoduro Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Venice (See other walking tours in Venice)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Author: naomi
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

1) Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (must see)

Santa Maria della Salute (English: Saint Mary of Health), commonly known simply as La Salute, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located in the Sestiere Dorsoduro of the Italian city of Venice. It is one of the best expressions of Baroque architecture in Venice. It stands on a narrow finger of land between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco making the church visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water.

La Salute is part of the parish of the Gesuati and is the most recent of the so-called plague-churches. In 1630, Venice experienced an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague. As a votive offering for the city's deliverance from the pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Health (or of Deliverance, Italian: Salute). The church was designed in the then fashionable baroque style by Baldassare Longhena, who studied under the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. Most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death.

The dome of La Salute was an important addition to the Venice skyline and soon became emblematic of the city, inspiring artists like Canaletto, J. M. W. Turner, John Singer Sargent and Francesco Guardi. Several works by Titian enrich the sacristy: "San Marco in trono, con i santi Cosma, Damiano, Sebastiano e Rocco", "Caino ed Abele", "Il sacrificio di Abramo ed Isacco" and "Davide e Golia".

Why You Should Visit:
San Marco may be Venice's most famous church by name, but La Salute may be Venice's most famous by image and silhouette!
The surrounding scenery is just amazing, too, since the church is right at the edge of the canal. You get great shots all around.

Do make sure you visit the treasure room for some amazing relics.
And do bring a drink with you as there are hardly any cafes around.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-12pm / 3-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Peggy Guggenheim Collection

2) Peggy Guggenheim Collection (must see)

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a small museum on the Grand Canal in Venice. It is one of several museums of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Containing principally the personal art collection of Peggy Guggenheim (1898–1979), a former wife of artist Max Ernst and a niece of mining magnate Solomon R. Guggenheim, this museum houses a somewhat smaller and more idiosyncratic collection than the other Guggenheim Foundation museums. However, the works on display include those of prominent American modernists and Italian futurists. Pieces in the collection embrace Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract expressionism. These include notable works by Picasso, Dalí, Magritte, Brancusi (including a sculpture from the 'Bird in Space' series) and Pollock.

Why You Should Visit:
To see a treasure trove of works up close & personal – all in one fabulous mansion on the toniest stretch of the Grand Canal.

Best to get there early as the rooms are small and there are no places to sit inside.
Alternately, arrange for a tour so you can get a private 'behind-the-scenes' scoop on all the art and Peggy's history.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm
Closed Tuesdays and December 25
Last ticket issued 30 minutes before close
Sight description based on wikipedia
Palazzo Barbarigo

3) Palazzo Barbarigo (must see)

Originally built in the 16th century, Palazzo Barbarigo is a palace in Venice, situated on the Grand Canal of the city. Today it is one of the more opulent palazzi on the canal, distinguished by its mosaics of Murano glass applied in 1886. At the time it was owned by the proprietors of one of the glass factories, who took their cue from the exterior mosaics on the facade of St Mark's Basilica. The palazzo follows the Renaissance pattern of design on three floors: an open loggia gives access to the canal surmounted by a Piano nobile with open loggias and decorated columns, with a "secondo piano nobile" (second floor) above. The comparatively modern mosaics probably cover original windows and obliviate the original design.

Go grab a drink out at the beautiful small balcony at the bar overlooking the Grand Canal if you can afford it!
If looking for a hotel, the one at the palazzo is small and intimate and in a perfect location for walking to all sites.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Gallerie dell'Accademia

4) Gallerie dell'Accademia (must see)

Gallerie dell' Accademia was founded primarily as an art school in 1750. It had the most famous art teachers of the time from all over Italy. With time it came to house a host of paintings by well-known Venetian and Italian artists. Here are presented several works of Titian, including his last work 'Pieta'. The painting was finished after his death by Jacopo Palma il Giovane.

The greatest names of Italian art, such as Bellini, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, Titian, Canaletto, Guardi, Bellotto, Longhi – all gathered in one of the greatest art collections in the world. These artists have influenced European art since the 13th century. The galleries are situated in the center of the Scuola Grande of Santa Maria della Carità.

Why You Should Visit:
Vast amount of early masterpieces! The collection is the best in town for Venetian art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
Beautiful, large, spacious and clean – the rooms are well planned and the layout beautiful.

Free entry the first Sunday of the month! If you do buy a ticket, hold on to it as it also allows access to the Palazzo Grimani located a short distance away.

Opening Hours:
Mon: 8:15am-2pm; Tue-Sun: 8:15am-7:15pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cantinone Già Schiavi

5) Cantinone Già Schiavi

Cantinone Già Schiavi is both a bar and a wine store. Quick Italian food is always served very well here and it is cheaper comparing to other places to eat in Venice. Their vegetables of mortadella served with tiny peperoncini and shredded leeks are the house specialties.
Campo San Barnaba

6) Campo San Barnaba

Campo San Barnaba is a campo (square) in Venice, northern Italy. The most famous sites in the area, the church with the same name and the bridge opposite to the church, where both featured in numerous films including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where it served as the exterior to the library.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Signor Blum

7) Signor Blum

What to buy here: Handmade wooden puzzles.

Before leaving Venice, take a part of this marvelous town with you. It's possible with a wooden puzzle which depicts some of the typical buildings of Venice, like the Rialto Bridge, the Doge's Palace, one of the wonderful palaces you can see when riding a gondola-tour on the Grand Canal. You can buy this in the shop called "Signor Blum". The owner is making (and painting) these puzzles by hand and each one of them is really unique. You even have the opportunity to buy a puzzle just made for you, showing a motive of the town you personally like most. The owner is creating his puzzles with very much care and attention and they can even be called art works. The shop is situated between two of the most beautiful places in Venice: the "Campo San Barnaba" and the "Campo San Margherita". In the shop you can also find small and very nice wooden objects showing typical venetian impressions. The address is: Campo San Barnaba, Dorsoduro 2840. It's opened daily from 10 up to 19. The price range for a wooden puzzle is from 20 EU up to 70 EU. But you can also buy some smaller wooden objects (they are not puzzles) such as gondolas, typical venetian houses, fish or even frogs for about 8 EU.
Galleria Ca' Rezzonico

8) Galleria Ca' Rezzonico (must see)

Ca' Rezzonico is a palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice. It was designed, in the late 17th century, by the greatest architect of the times, Balthasar Longen. The building took many years to complete, and it was not finished until 1745 by the architect Giorgio Massari, who had been brought in to oversee the completion of the project by the new owners – the Rezzonico Family.

Numerous paintings by such artists as Pietro Longhi, Francesco Guardi, and Giandomenico Tiepolo can be found in the Palazzo. In addition to collections of antique furniture, there is also a fine collection of Venetian glass, showing that the skills of the 18th-century masters at Murano were probably superior to those on the island today.

Ca' Rezzonico opened as a public museum on 25 April 1936. Today, it is one of the finest museums in Venice, largely because of its unique character, where objects designed for great palazzi are displayed in a palazzo; thus, the contents and the container harmonize in a way not possible in a purpose-built museum.

Why You Should Visit:
If you have already hit the highlights, this is the place to go to.
Beautifully restored palazzo that does contain some impressive art, too!
Not too large or too small, but just the right size, and not too crowded either.
The audio guide is good, though there are also plastic cards with the essentials in each room.

Check out the café on the ground floor with a terrace directly facing onto the Grand Canal.
The garden is free and has some shade with seats for a welcome break from walking Venice.
Advance tickets can be purchased from Ca' Rezzonico's own website.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-6pm (Apr-Oct); 10am-5pm (Nov-Mar)
Closed on Tuesdays, December 25th, January 1st
Sight description based on wikipedia
L'Angolo del Passato

9) L'Angolo del Passato

L'Angolo del Passato, located in Venetian district of Dorsoduro, specializes in antique and contemporary glassware. Here you can find a large collection of “goti de fornasa,” vases, and other glass souvenirs from the 1920s and 1930s.
Campo Santa Margherita

10) Campo Santa Margherita (must see)

Located right in the center of Dorso Duro district, Campo Santa Margherita is one of the liveliest corners of Venice. It has a high concentration of clubs that are frequented both in winter and in summertime thanks to the tables placed outside the bars, pubs, restaurants, and pizzerias. You can still see Venetians minding their daily lives, as well as watch the children playing in the afternoon and on Sundays.

Santa Margherita is one of the larger open places in Venice after St. Mark's Square and Campo San Polo. This square is celebrated for its nightlife, with plenty of 'spritz' (a local drink) being consumed during happy hour and beyond. For this reason, along with Campo San Giacometto at Rialto, it is the favorite place in Venice for young people, but also for many tourists that appreciate its friendly atmosphere.

Why You Should Visit:
If Piazza San Marco is the tourists center of Venice, then Campo Santa Margherita may be the local's center!
Due to it being away from the popular Rialto-San Marco route, you won't find many tourists and many shops here are catered for locals.
Even if you do not intend to eat/drink here, take a detour to people-watch – fortunately, there are many benches for you to enjoy the scene.

Keep this place in mind for when you'll need food late at night.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Titian's Tour

Titian's Tour

Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian, was one of the greatest painters of all time. He represents the Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. His works are well-known for their realistic interpretation of biblical episodes. Titian had a style of his own that cannot be compared with that of the other artists of his period. This tour will guide you through the most important places in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Lido Island Walking Tour

Lido Island Walking Tour

Lido is the largest island of Venice city. It is long, but not wide at all, very different from the circular form of the main city. Lido is known for its very popular places, a movie was made here and there are some other secrets that this particular guide offers you. Ready for adventure? Ride on!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
Ghetto Tour

Ghetto Tour

The term "ghetto" is derived from a local Venetian dialect and relates to foundries and the metal casting industry. The Ghetto of Venice was indeed built around a smelter. Here, in 1516, at the behest of the Republic of Venice, Jews were literally locked inside the gates in the evening. Nowadays this is a center of Jewish life in Venice. The area comprises several synagogues, divided by...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 km
Northern Venice Attractions Walking Tour

Northern Venice Attractions Walking Tour

The Northern Area of Venice is full of places of great historical and cultural importance. This tour offers you a view of some of the loveliest churches of Venice such as the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo and Chiesa dei Santissimi Apostoli.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
Castello District Walking Tour

Castello District Walking Tour

The eastern Castello area hosts the city's most extensive green area. Castello is the largest district of Venice. It has been inhabited since the 5th century and has a number of attractions for tourists, like the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello, the Arsenale di Venezia and the Biennale exhibits. It was and is home to Venice's most important industries.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Romantic Walking Tour

Romantic Walking Tour

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is the perfect destination for honeymoons, proposals and romantic trips. It is impossible to name the most romantic places in Venice because all the streets, canals and corners of this city are filled with romance, passion and love. This tour will guide you through the places where you can enjoy the perfect moment with your beloved.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

Venice has been a tourist mecca for over a century now, with millions of visitors flocking in every year to see this unique place on the face of the Earth. Many, if not all, of these people seek to obtain something memorable as a token of their stay in this city. By far, not all of them know which...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Venice for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Venice has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting Venice's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Official All Venice City Pass, Venezia Unica Tourist City Pass, 72-Hour Venice Transportation Pass, or Venice Museum Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Venice's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Venice hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Hotel Concordia, Hotel Al Ponte Dei Sospiri, Baglioni Hotel Luna.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Venice, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Venice typically costs from around US$20 up to more than US$200 per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view all of Venice's top attractions while listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like.

- Experience Venice from dry land and water on the combo of 2-hour walk and half-hour gondola ride around the historic center, marveling at the Byzantine monuments and gliding down the canals of this marvelous city.

- Have a double pleasure for your eyes and ears combining a 30-minute gondola ride with a serenade, wafting by the fascinating sights of Venice in the company of a traditionally-dressed gondolier and a singer aboard.

- Having quenched your appetite for sightseeing, don't forget to treat yourself to some delicious specialties of Venice as well. Take a 2.5-hour tour led by a local guide to see the city's highlights on waters, plus check out several notable eateries to savor authentic Venetian delights.

- Discover the Jewish side of Venice from a culinary standpoint on a food tour of the historic Jewish ghetto. Guided by a food-connoisseur, you will visit a number of joints offering authentic local dishes thus acquainting yourself with the rich culture and food traditions of the Venetian Jews.

- Architecture-wise there's so much more to Venice than just St. Mark's Square. Be welcome to prove it to yourself on the guided walk exploring the artistic richness of Venice away from the trodden tourist paths.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Venice, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Verona, Valpolicella, Florence, or the Dolomite Mountains. For as little as US$140+ to US$180+ per person you will get a chance to visit one of the most romantic cities in Italy (hometown of Romeo and Juliet), learn about Veneto’s winemaking heritage and sample the local wines, visit the Tuscan capital of Florence, soak up the bracing mountain scenery, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Venice, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minibus or train to the destination of your choice and back again.