Having an address for your hotel in Venice is not much use because the numbering system does not follow a system that is easily understood by strangers.
Venice is divided up into six districts or sestieri (singular sestiere), and every house in the district has been numbered sequentially. So an address such as Sestiere Castello 4196 (for the Hotel Danieli) just means it is house 4,196 in the Castello district – useful for a bureaucrat but not for a visitor. To find any destination, you will also need to ask for the name of the calle (alley), campo (square) or fondamenta (quay). If you are wise, you’ll also ask for a nearby landmark as sometimes two different streets may have the same name.
The easiest way to navigate is by major landmarks and, fortunately, they are well signposted as you are not the first tourist to get lost. Official yellow signs point out destinations such as “S Marco” (Piazza San Marco), “Ferrovia” (train station) or “Rialto”. Signs on churches will also tell you what district you are in. There are also plenty of informal signs put up by helpful locals – or just those tired of giving directions to bewildered foreigners.
If it makes you feel any better, even Venetians accept they will get lost when they leave their own sestiere. It’s the only way to discover the best side of “La Serenissima” away from the usual sights.
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