Ponte della Canonica, Castello 4312 • Open 10am–7pm daily
Literally steps away from Piazza San Marco, Venice’s only original Romanesque cloister boasts a lovely courtyard with twin-columned arcades. A quiet spot, it is part of the Museo Diocesano d’Arte Sacra.
Just around the corner from Ponte delle Tette (Bridge of Breasts) is this quiet thoroughfare. Referred to as the “Carampane” (Ca’ Rampani), it has been Venice’s red-light district since 1421. The city had some 11,600 officially registered courtesans in the 1500s.
Located in the far eastern extremity of Venice, this quiet residential islet has marvellous shady parkland on the waterfront. Children can enjoy the skating rink and playground while parents relax at laidback cafés.
This unusual walkway clings to a perimeter wall of the ancient Arsenale shipyard in a rather neglected zone of Castello. It makes for an atmospheric walk, offering marvellous views over the lagoon and leading to a cluster of old workers’ dwellings.
This peaceful courtyard was named after the anatomy theatre that existed here in 1368. Much later, in 1671, in neighbouring Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio, a College of Anatomy was established in what is now a separate building with an attractive trellis draped with vines.
Castello, San Lio
This attractive alley just off the busy San Lio thoroughfare is lined with medieval-style overhangs, as well as restaurants and shops. The name comes from the delightful lopsided, sculptured 15th-century arch depicting the Virgin and her devotees at the end.
A favourite spot for children to play in, this is a spacious neighbourhood square. In addition to the Gesuiti (Jesuit) church, it is flanked by the cavernous Crociferi complex, erstwhile monastery, then barracks, now student lodgings. Wander inside to admire the cloisters and the canal-side café.
This picturesque courtyard, which opens on to the Grand Canal, is surprisingly well hidden. It takes its name from the Duke of Milan who took over a partially constructed palace here in 1461, though work went no further than the diamond-point ashlar on the façade. The artist Titian used the building as a studio while he was working on the Doge’s Palace.
Now a tranquil residential spot, back in the 1200s this square saw plenty of comings and goings due to the riotous behaviour of the sisters in the Cistercian convent. The first archive of city affairs was established here under Napoleon.
Just off the main thoroughfare Strada Nova, you will find this lovely raised square. It is often used as a film location, due to the fact that it remains all but unchanged since medieval times. Its modest houses are topped with a fascinating range of chimneys.