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The Fondamenta delle Zattere, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, may be the most people-friendly stretch of waterfront in Venice: Unlike the Riva degli Schiavoni along the San Marco waterfront, it's rarely jam-packed with tourists, and there are few--if any--souvenir stands along the wide stone-paved promenade that runs from just above the cruise port's San Basilio pier to the tip of Dorsoduro. (See panoramic photo.)

  • In the first image below, you can see nearly the entire length of the promenade. Also visible are the Grand Canal and Accademia Bridge (labeled "Ponte dell'Accademia" in the photo) and, on the southern side of the wider Giudecca Canal, the island of La Giudecca.

  • The second photo starts at the San Basilio pier, continues past the San Basilio vaporetto stop (a small platform in front of the yellow Billa supermarket), and finishes just beyond a large dock that is used for visiting yachts, naval training ships, and other vessels. (We've seen Johnny Depp's yacht Vajoliroja moored here a few times.)

  • Image 3 shows the next stretch of the Zattere, including a waterfront restaurant, the Zattere vaporetto and airport boat piers, and two churches: Santa Maria della Visitazione and the more important Santa Maria del Rosario church (more commonly known as the Gesuati, a name that's also used for a church in the district of Cannaregio.)

  • In the fourth picture, we've skipped to the final section of the Zattere, where the sestiere or district of Dorsuduro narrows by the Church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Punta della Dogana with its historic customs house.

  • Tip: The Zattere is a great place for a walk at any time of year. It's especially pleasant on milder Sundays from fall through spring, when Venetians crowd restaurant and café tables along the promenade (which faces south, toward the sun). Around 5 or 6 p.m. during the cruise season, you can watch ships move slowly up the Giudecca Canal on their way to the Adriatic. (Saturday is usually the best day to see cruise ships; check the port's cruise calendar for departure times.)

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