Cannaregio neighborhood of Venice

Dining and Lodging in the Cannaregio Neighborhood of Venice

Written by Becky

Venice is the European stop that we formed our trip around.  Like many others, I’ve romanticized visiting this one-of-a-kind city since I was a child. As we started planning our trip, several folks told us to skip Venice, that it was overcrowded, tourist-y, and stinky.  But I will tell you right now Venice doesn’t stick.

Cannaregio Venice Italy

I literally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as we got off the train and ventured to find our b & b in Venice. Even as we were lost with heavy packs on our back, now carrying French copper pots in them, my face was still cheerfully beaming (probably frustrating to Josh but I just couldn’t help it).

As I mentioned in my blog post about Paris, I think the best way to visit a tourist heavy European town is to stay in a neighborhood where the locals live, eat and hang out mostly in that neighborhood, then venture into the main parts of the city just to see the sights. In Venice, we stayed in the Cannaregio neighborhood near the Jewish ghetto. The open-air plazas were more quiet, filled mostly with local kids playing soccer or small gatherings of Venetians outside lesser-known cafes.  We enjoyed the history behind the Jewish ghetto, learning that  many came here to escape persecution and formed a community on this northern side of the island.  We also enjoyed the more local dining scene, no offers for ‘tourist menus’ like you see around most of the main streets, and less bustling crowds who looked just like us, cameras around our necks and guidebooks in hand. Even though we are tourists ourselves, the whole idea of traveling is to feel like a foreigner in a foreign land, right?  Not to feel like your in your own cultural bubble but  just traveling somewhere new in a pack.  I think you want to feel a bit isolated from your own culture, but that’s just how I like to travel.

Canal Venice Italy

Our lodging in Venice was also perfectly local. A bed and breakfast, yes, but more truly a sweet Italian family’s extra bedroom, complete with its own entrance and a shared patio and garden where we ate breakfast every morning.  We found dining most evenings at trattorias just around the corner from this home, recommendations from our host. During the days we leisurely got ourselves lost in the beautiful canal maze of Venice, spotting all of the important sights along the way: the Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Murano glass in storefronts along the way.  We strolled for hours and as we got hungry we would pick up a snack as there are tons of spots to eat a small bite that you can chose at the counter (cheaper than sitting down at the same place). The fresh yogurt and fruit stands are also great places to grab a snack at.

Gondola in Venice Italy

We took advice from my Aunt and we shelled out the cash for an evening gondola ride. You just must do this if you’re in Venice.  It’s not just a money trap for tourists like some think, taking gondolas is an ancient part of their history in Venice. In a different era, they used them to transport royalty around the city and now many Venetians earn a decent living from captaining these little pointy boats around the small waterways of town. All gondoliers have a story or personality to entertain you and intrigue you, our gondolier’s story included that he was actually a 7th generation gondoliere, inheriting his boat and trade through the family line.


Every evening we discovered a new little restaurant in the Cannaregio neighborhood. The first evening we returned to the cafe, Restaurant Diana, whose employees graciously helped us find our way to the bed and breakfast we were staying in. The next few evenings we found other restaurants nearby, each one being delicious and not too over priced like you’d find closer in town. I’ll never forget eating my first Sepe al nero (cuttlefish with black ink) at Osteria L’Orto and having the cute daughter of our bed and breakfast host riding around our table in circles to entertain us as we dined.

Sepe al nero cuttlefish in Venice

There our certain traditional Venetian cuisines to keep an eye out for on menus.  Look for:  Sepe al nero- cuttlefish cooked with their ink (I had this over linguini and loved it! The dark ink adds a very earthy flavor and how fun is it to have a bowl full of black noodles!),  Polenta fasoà- creamy polenta served with a bean soup flavored with pork lard, and the local wine- Tocai, an easy to drink white wine.

When our time in Venice was up, I tried to convince Josh that we needed to move to there, but I think we’ll be staying around Utah, which I’m not complaining about at all.  I will say though, I would travel back to Venice in a heartbeat.

Dining in Cannaregio Venice

Dining in Cannaregio (listed as name: address, neighborhood)

Osteria L’Orto Dei Mori: Campo Dei Mori, Cannaregio 3386   {nice 3 course meal in a quiet area, where I tried the black ink cuttlefish}

Restaurant Diana: Fundamenta della Misericordia, Cannaregio   {family run restaurant with inexpensive house wine and traditional foods next to a small canal}

Paradiso: Fundamenta della Misericordia, Cannaregio 2540   {lively late night scene and a great, affordable menu}

Osteria da Rioba: Fundamenta della Misericordia, Cannaregio   {recommended by our host}

Ostaria Dei Zemei in Venice

Snacks in the main area of Venice

Ostaria Dei Zemei: San Polo 1045b, Venice   {serves a variety of bruschetta made fresh by the twin brothers who own the cafe/bar. Photos of twins fill the cafe. Perfect stop for an afternoon snack and glass of wine. Order at the bar and stand or pay extra to sit down on the patio.}

Bed and Breakfast in Venice


B & B All’Orto {this is where we stayed and loved it but if they are booked find another bed and breakfast in the Cannaregio neighborhood to stay in}


Comments (6)

  1. I visited Venice during college and I feel exactly the same as you. People told me it would smell bad and not be that great but I was ENCHANTED. I loved it so, so much. I have this vivid memory of being on the Rialto Bridge on a sunny morning with all these tables of people selling Murano glass– the colorful glass and the water all glittered in the sun and my breath was literally taken away by how beautiful and amazing it was.

  2. I agree with you, Loved Venice. We were there two years ago. We purchased a water bus ticket and were up and down the canal several times, during different times of the day. So enchanting at night. Venice IS very pricey, but it was the perfect way to end our Italy vacation. Yes we indulged in a Gondola ride and it was just the two of us. Very romantic.

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