San Polo is actually the smallest districts of Venice: however, it has truly plenty of things to do and visit.
In a small area, in fact, San Polo district concentrates museums, art galleries, famous markets, marvelous churches as well as one of the most important symbols of Venice: the Rialto bridge.
In this tour, we are going to find out all the most important attractions you will indeed have to do once you are in San Polo district.
10 things to do in San Polo district: let's discover the unmissable ones
Do you know where the Sestiere San Polo is actually located?
San Polo is the inner heart of Venice. The district is mostly surrounded by the Grand Canal, while its northeastern part borders on the Santa Croce sestiere. The southwestern part borders instead with the Dorsoduro sestiere.
The Rialto bridge is the only connection that this district has to reach the eastern part of the city (actually the San Marco sestiere).
Let's see what you can do in this amazing part of Venice!
1. Visit the most famous market not only of San Polo district but also of Venice
Everyone in the world knows the greatness of the Rialto fish market.
It is one of the first things to do once you are in San Polo district, because here you can truly understand the history of the city.
This is not only one of the most famous markets, but actually one of the most ancient ones.
2. Admire the magnificence of the greatest symbol of Venice
Another great reason to come to San Polo district is to admire the most important symbol of Venice.
The Rialto bridge, which takes its name from the close market, is actually the most ancient bridge of Venice on the Grand Canal.
You simply cannot visit Venice without passing by this amazing bridge. This white and mighty building, in fact, stays elegantly and gently on the greatest canals of Venice: you cannot help but be amazed!
You can discover more about its crazy history here.
3. Visit the church of San Giacometo
Close to the first two attractions we have listed in our article, you can find actually what is considered the oldest church in Venice.
San Giacomo di Rialto is located some meters away from the most popular bridge of the city, but not so many people pay true attention to this building.
If you have the opportunity to come here while the church is open is great, however you can also admire its exteriors. You won't find any church like this in the entire city of Venice!
4. Relax in the greatest "campo" of the city
You know that the only square in Venice is actually San Marco square. All the other open spaces, no matter how wide they are, are called "campi".
The greatest campo in Venice is Campo San Polo and it gives its name to the whole district.
In this wide space you can find the church of the same name and some beautiful buildings that show the typical elegance of the Venetian style. Once you are here, just stroll around the campo and admire the gothic Palazzo Soranzo and the beautiful Palazzo Corner Mocenigo. They are indeed beautiful.
5. Step inside one of the greatest churches of Venice
One of the most enchanting churches of Venice stands in the heart of this district.
However, it is not what you can see outside of the church that will marvel you, but what you can see from the inside.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (called also Basilica dei Frari) is actually a treasure chest of artworks.
Not only can you find the monumental tombs of some of the greatest artists of all time (like Canova and Titian) but also many altarpieces and paintings that will truly amaze you.
6. Take your time to visit the splendor of on the most refined museum of the city
Very close to the church we have just described, there is another great museum of Venice. Actually this is one of the greatest and it is the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
Not only is the facade of this building marvelous, but also what is inside is indeed magnificent.
This Scuola is known for its collection of paintings by Tintoretto: everyone in fact agrees that his best works are collected here.
7. Pay a visit to the house of the greatest Venetian playwright
Located in the San Polo district there is also the house of the most famous Venetian playwright and librettist.
His name is Carlo Goldoni and he worked in Venice in the XVIII century. Some of his most notable works are Servant of Two Masters and The Mistress of the Inn.
In Sestiere San Polo you can actually see the house where this great artist was born. The museum is very entertaining so it's a great idea also to come here with kids.
8. Explore one of the greatest architectural complexes of the city
Another popular museum of Venice is located here. It's the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista which is part of the great architectural complex dedicated to Saint John.
There are in fact the church and the Scuola Grande: they create altogether a magnificent complex where you can see the influence of many architectural and art styles: Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, etc.
9. Find the most curious bridge of Venice
San Polo district is also famous for another bridge. The reason for its fame stands just behind its name. In fact it is called the Ponte delle Tette (bridge of the tits) because it is located in an area which once was attended by sex workers and their clients.
10. Take your time to have a nice aperitif in the most scenic panorama of Venice
The last thing we recommend you to do while in San Polo district is just to take your time.
Choose your perfect place and do what locals usually do here: have an aperitif surrounded by the most enchanting view.
You can decide to go to Rialto or, if you are looking for something more quiet, you can decide to stroll around the calli near Rialto. May we suggest that you take a look at Campo Sant'Aponal?
It is indeed quiet but also a very elegant place to have your wine with cicchetti!