San Polo is one of the oldest of Venice’s six districts, or sestieri, and home to many of the city’s most popular sites including the Rialto Bridge that connects San Polo to the San Marco side of the Grand Canal and the historic Rialto Market, a fascinating slice of Venetian life.
The San Polo district lies at the heart of Venice, hugging one of the wide bends in the Grand Canal. Guided walking tours of the San Polo area generally include Campo San Polo, the largest public square in Venice after San Marco, and the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, said to be the city’s oldest church. The neighborhood is also home to the works of Tintoretto in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (the Frari Church), famous for its works by 16th-century painters Bellini and Titian. Private walking tours can easily be paired with a gondola ride and visits to Venice highlights like Saint Mark's Square.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The area around the Rialto is always busy, but walk a bit away from the Grand Canal and deeper into this charming neighborhood to discover the quieter streets.
- Be sure to bring your camera, as San Polo is a particularly picturesque area of Venice.
- San Polo tours are on foot, so wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- There are a number of excellent local restaurants and cafés serving cicchetti (Venetian tapas) in this district.
How to Get There
Cross the Rialto Bridge from the San Marco side of the Grand Canal to San Polo, or take vaporetto Line 1 to Rialto Mercato.
When to Get There
Venice is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and can be very crowded during the summer months. The best times of year to visit are early spring and late fall, when the city is less crowded but the weather is mild.
Venice has six districts, or sestieri: Castello, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, San Marco, Santa Croce, and—the smallest—San Polo.