In the city, the civic numbering is unique for each district, with some exceptions for the larger areas in the islands not connected by bridges, and reaches four-digit numbers, up to almost 7000 in Castello. This particular numbering system, together with the natural complexity of the Venetian road system and urban planning, also leads to two very different house numbers within easy reach of each other.
Their names are:
- Cannaregio, which takes its name from the reeds present in the marshy area on which it developed;
- Castello owes its name to the fortification built as a defense, traces of which can still be seen today;
- Dorsoduro, recalls the compact sand dunes of this area;
- San Marco, derives from the name of the basilica;
- San Polo, represents the center of Venice;
- Santa Croce, owes its name to the ancient church of Santa Croce, which no longer exists.
However, they do not end with the historic area of the city alone, but also include other areas such as: Giudecca is part of Dorsoduro, the island of San Giorgio Maggiore di S. Marco and the island of San Michele, home to the city cemetery, they are part of Castello.
Administrative subdivisions at the time of the Serenissima Republic
Historically these were the districts of the city of Venice. Since ancient times, this subdivision was also reflected in the composition of some offices in the judiciary of the time, such as the six ducali-elected Councilors in the Minor Council, one for each district. The surveillance of these areas was delegated to particular officials, the District Heads, in charge of reporting to the government on the identity and behavior of the resident citizens.
The subdivision into sestieri was a model that was often exported also to those territories under the control of the Republic of Venice, which were thus associated with one of the city districts, as in the cases of the island of Crete and the territories of the Dogado.
The representation of the sestieri in the gondola iron
Symbolically, the sestieri should be represented by the six front teeth of the gondola iron, more correctly called the bow iron - the typical front decoration of these boats - which together with the rear tooth representing the island of Giudecca, to the "S" shape tracing the route of the Canal Grande, to the small arch above the last bar that recalls the Rialto Bridge, and to the wide upper volute indicating both the San Marco Basin and the Doge's Horn - the Doge's headgear -, represent the stylized version of the city.
This representation, however, does not currently have a historical certainty.