Time stands still in San Marco, an island and districts district in the heart of historic Venice. So many of the city's most famous sights are found here, including bustling Piazza San Marco and the elegant Doge's Palace, the churches of San Benito and San Fantin, plus a whole array of theatres and palaces. If any district epitomised the mystique of Venice then it would be San Marco, a place where it's very rare that a Venice visitor doesn't spend some time exploring what the area has to offer. San Marco is also the most central of the historic sestieri districts.
Famous experiences are what San Marco is all about. Have a drink in Harry's Bay, wander through the elaborate hallways of Doge's Palace, explore the baroque masterpiece that is Chiesa di San Moise, then stand in awe at the San Marco Basilica. Piazza San Marco is the main piazza in Venice and it's surrounded by glorious landmarks, not to mention luxurious coffee shops and cafes. Yet for all the famous attractions, the labyrinth of San Marco streets also brings quaint hidden sights. This is a district for getting lost, each turn bringing another nod to Venice's history such as a Renaissance art gallery, a neoclassical church, elaborate jewellers, or a charming residential house that holds five centuries of history.
San Marco can only be explored on foot and it doesn't take long to walk across the district. While it can be tempting to follow a map, much of the enchantment comes from discovering what lies off the main tourist trail. Most visitors arrive by taking a bridge or boat across the water from either San Polo, Castello or Cannaregio. The ornate Rialto Bridge is the most famous of the crossings, taking visitors to Palazzo dei Dieci Savi and Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto.
Piazza San Marco is Venice's main public square and lines the lagoon, where dozens of water taxis are waiting. Although it shares the same name as the district, this famous piazza wasn't an original part of the San Marco districts.