One of the six districts in Venice's historic center, Santa Croce brings me back on every visit to the city. We always choose lodging here in the center's western corner because of its quiet charm. An absence of the sights considered by many to be "must sees" keeps the tourists down, ensuring that Santa Croce's narrow streets and small stone bridges over tiny canals remain uncrowded. Much of the small district is a series of neighborhoods with residents going about their business and shops catering mostly to them rather than the city's huge influx of visitors. Its Piazzale Roma, however, provides a sharp contrast because of the busy bus terminal and car parks there.
Though much of Santa Croce harbors a stillness, especially at night, I consider it to be an easy walk to where the action is, such as the lively Rialto markets and St. Mark's Square. And it is just over the Scalzi Bridge from the Santa Lucia railway station, making the district a good place to stay for those arriving with luggage, who aren't interested in water transport and don't want to lug bags a long way.
Attractions in Santa Croce do exist, though they may not be in the top tier of places to visit in Venice. For example, I really like lovely San Stae next to the vaporetto stop of the same name on the Grand Canal. And nearby Ca' Pesaro, a magnificent Baroque palace, holds museums devoted separately to modern (19th and 20th centuries) and oriental art. The cafe here on the ground floor has a terrace with tables right by the Grand Canal. On my December 2016 visit, I sat there long after finishing my excellent cappuccino to continue watching the activity on the canal. Perhaps my favorite place, however, is the delightful square of Campo San Giacomo dell' Oro. In nice weather, this is a perfect place to sit on a bench with a pastry from Majer, a nearby bakery.
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