The most known landmarks in Venice are train station, Piazza San Marco and Ponte di Rialto – they’re very useful to give directions to tourists. But students don’t hang out very often in that part of Venice, since universities are based in Dorsosuro (and Cannaregio, but economics students are different. I’m sorry for you, guys) – that’s why they use their own landmarks, which sometimes don’t make any sense to who doesn’t know the city.
The most popular meeting point is Campo Santa Margherita (also referred as “Campo”, because it’s the most famous among campi): close to most university branches and libraries, lots of popular pubs and restaurants can be reached within minutes from there, and it is the nightlife center, while Frari and San Polo are more “residential”, and Tolentini is famous for Lele, a bacaro that sells cicchetti (snacks) and wine . Campo San Barnaba and Toeletta are famous, too – the first for restaurants and shops, the second for its bookshop and bakery.
University branches are also very useful, in particular Centrale (“Central”, where administration has its headquarters) and San Basilio, as well as BAUM and Zattere, the most popular libraries – again, if you study economics in San Giobbe I’m sorry. Bridges are good landmarks, too: gli Scalzi, where one of the quickest and rarely visited routes to San Marco begins, Calatrava, or commuters worst nightmare, Tre Ponti, where three bridges blend together allowing people to reach lots of places without walking through the whole city, Ponte di Ferro, famous for its yogurt shop, and Ponte dell’Accademia, full of people all day long, 365 days per year, beautiful, uncomfortable and necessary for lots of students.
Students’ Venice is a different Venice, with less tourists and more residents, more true than the one everyone in the world knows. With its second-hand bookshops, boat groceries, masks botteghe, cheap restaurants and hidden beauties (which the whole city is filed with) it’s beautiful, too, in a different way.