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The Grand Canal in Venice

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The Grand Canal in Venice
The Grand Canal in Venice

Venetians use to call it “canalazzo”,  and  itcross the city dividing the centre in two parts.  The Grand Canal is even older than Venice, and the construction of the city was adapted on the route of it. it’s 4 kilometers long and it has a S reverse shape and the two  extreme points are Ponte dellaLibertà and the Bacino di San Marco. The Grand Canal is 5 meters deep in some points and in some others can be 70 meters width. A boat tour on the Grand Canal will give you the chance to admire all the beauty of the Republic of Venice.

A tour on the Grand Canal of Venice

From Saint Lucia railway station, in front of Piazzale Roma you can take a ride in a boat that leads to Piazza San Marco, crossing the Grand Canal. The city view from the water is great: you’ll admire the  doorways of the rich palaces along the canal entrances that will leave you breathless. Once boarded, near the station you can see the dome of the Church of San Simeon Piccolo. Proceeding along the Grand Canal, you’ll pass under the Scalzi Bridge designed in the 30’s to let the pedestrian crossing from one bank of the Canal without being forced to reach Rialto. Once passed the bridge, your attention will be caught by two imposing buildings on either side of the channel. The Gothic-style building on the right bank is the Ca’ Foscari, while the left one is the Ca’ CalboCrotta. Proceeding  on the tour  you will come across a very stylish and elegant gray building of the XVI century. Here it was hidden one of the most famous “brothels” of Venice. It is precisely in this area that the Biagio legend is developed, the grim butcher who had his shop on the shore, which then became Biagio Riva, and it is said that it was in charge to get rid of unwanted children conceived in the brothel.

The Ponte degli Scalzi in Venice
The Ponte degli Scalzi in Venice

A tour on the Grand Canal

Walking along the main stream of Torcello, in an area where today there are only orchards, you’ll see  the Devil’s Bridge. According to local legend, it was built in one night by the devil and is unfinished. In fact, the legend of the devil who builds bridges is widespread throughout Italy and dates back to the time when you could not explain how a bridge could remain standing!

Rialto and the Venice Casino

Just in front of the Fondaco it stands the Municipal Casino, housed in the elegant Ca’ Vendramin Calergi. Then you can see the last residence of Richard Wagner, the German composer who ended his days in Venice, the Ala Grimaldi which is characterized by the small garden. The boat then arrives in San Stae, where on the left bank there is  Ca’Pesaro, the current seat of the Modern Art Museum and the Museum of Oriental Art and the particular Ca’ Corner della Regina. Continuing the route,  you’ll  start to see the Rialto Bridge, the walkway on the Grand Canal that has accompanied, over the centuries, the city’s development.  The Grand Canal then arrive into the city, where the buildings have hot and vibrant colors and are one closed to another. After the stop at Rialto, you’ll notice  Ca’ DolfinManin, home of the Bank of Italy, which is followed by the residence of the poet Pietro Bembo, called Ca’ Bembo.

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge

From Mocenigo to Piazza San Marco

Continuing on the route you’ll see one of the most bizarre buildings of Venice, the Ca ‘Bernardo, built with first and secondasymmetric floor. Then you will find Ca’ MocenigoVecchia, sixteenth century palace in which  was arrested Giordano Bruno. The navigation then leads into the southern way of the Canal, and the past and present face each other:  there is Ca’Rezzonico, owned by Pope Clement XIII family, now the Museum of Venetianeighteenth Century, and on the left Palazzo Grassi bought by the French magnate Francois Pinault which housed the exhibition of some works from its rich collection. Then you reach the Accademia Bridge, the walkway that leads from the center of the city the art gallery made in a desecrated Monastery of Saint Mary of Charity. On the left of the bridge there is  Ca’Franchettiwhile on the right side the imposing balcony with sculptures and large stair of Ca’ Venierdei Leoni, home of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. The Dome of Santa Maria della Salute, designed as a votive offering to the entire city by the end of the terrible plague in  1630. Overcoming the Dogana del Mar and its special flag with the shape of Lady Fortuna on a golden globe, the right bank goes down into the sea, while on the left there is San Marco Square whose frame is made from the ColonneGemelle,  Palazzo Ducale, the Campanile, and the beautiful Clock Tower.

Where: From Piazza San Marco or Railway
How to get there: There are very expensive gondola tours or private boats. The cheapest way is the public ferry boat L1 from Saint Lucia and arrives in San Marco.
When: Ferry boat L1 from 5 am until midnight
Ticket: one way ticket € 7,50