Venice is divided into six regions, or, in the local vernacular, ‘sestiere’: San Marco, Castello, Canaregio, Santa Croce, San Polo and Dorsoduro. San Marco (St Mark’s) is the most central region. During the era of the Venetian Republic, St Mark’s square was the seat of government, and the location of the holiest building in the city – Saint Mark’s Basilica. Naturally the patricians of the Venetian republic strove to build their elegant multistoried palaces in the sestiere of San Marco.
Nowadays the region is one of the most important cultural and commercial centres in Italy, home to art galleries, elegant boutiques, and untold numbers of restaurants and souvenir shops. It is a fantastic pleasure to stroll here unhurried and with no thought to a final destination, to wander down a narrow alley that leads who knows where and to lose oneself in an every surprising labyrinth of streets while admiring the ancient architecture and listening to the lapping water of the canals.
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