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THE QUIET SESTIERE

Adrian Mourby explores the tranquil backwaters of Venice in the eastern sestiere of Castello
The sestiere of Castello is full of quiet nooks where you will rarely see another tourist

The Alta Acqua bookshop has a seat where you can read as the canal water laps into the shop

Zanipolo, Venice’s most beautiful church
The incomplete Chiesa di San Lorenzo
San Zaccaria, gateway to Castello
Images by Kate Tadman-Mourby

It’s the sestiere that Venetians call truly Venetian. The neighbourhood of Castello consists of the same narrow lanes, broad campi and monumental churches as the other five sestieri, but it lacks the crowds and the tourist-trap trattorias. In Castello it’s rare to find a waiter standing in the street urging you inside. You’re more likely to find that your chosen restaurant – modest, despite its excellent reviews – is located next to the local chemist or a shop selling washing-machine parts.

Castello exerts a slow charm but it’s probably the easiest sestiere in which to feel at home. Teenagers come charging out of the Liceo Scientifico on Fondamenta di Santa Giustina, the cloisters of Chiesa San Lorenzo have been turned into the supermarket and the Alta Acqua bookshop has steps made out of old magazines and a seat where you can read as the canal water laps into the shop.

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About Italia!

When it comes to planning a holiday, so much of the enjoyment comes in the anticipation, which is why we have packed the issue with plenty of inspiration for your next trip to Italy, whether you’re going this year or next. We were intrigued to find out about the papier-mâché (cartapesta) tradition of Salento on our visit to Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’. Lake Como is breathtaking whatever the season, and a visit to Villa Balbiano, now restored to its former opulence, is a must.