The Cannaregio sestiere, the most populated in Venice, is located north-west of the city and is crossed by long and parallel canals.
In all probability its name derives from a crippling of the term "Cannarecium", a marshy place where a large number of reeds grew. Other hypotheses make the name derive from "Canal Regio", that large channel (now "Canale di Cannaregio") that connects the lagoon to the Grand Canal, crossing the whole district.
Once, before the construction of the railway bridge over the lagoon, this canal was the "main gate" for the transit of goods and people to Venice and, on the other hand, to the mainland.
The district winds along the northern part of the city, north of the Grand Canal; it borders, to the north and west, with the lagoon, to the south with the Grand Canal, to the east with Castello and San Marco.
In Cannaregio there are the ancient Jewish Ghetto, built in the 16th century, and numerous buildings from the Gothic period; the oldest part is located near Rialto.
Part of the area facing the north lagoon is bordered by a long promenade: the Fondamente Nove.