The Grand Canal is a canal in Venice, Italy. It forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city. Public transport is provided by water buses and private water taxis, and many tourists explore the canal by gondola.
At one end the canal leads into the lagoon near Santa Lucia railway station and the other end leads into Saint Mark Basin: in between it makes a large S-shape through the central districts (sestieri) of Venice.
The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date to 13th to the 18th century and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. The noble Venetian families faced huge expenses to show off their richness in suitable palazzos: this contest reveals the citizens’ pride and the deep bond with the lagoon.
Because most of the city’s traffic goes along the Canal rather than across it, only one bridge crossed the canal until the 19th century, the Rialto Bridge. There are currently two more bridges, the Ponte degli Scalzi and the Ponte dell’Accademia. A fourth, controversial bridge (Ponte della Costituzione) designed by Santiago Calatrava was recently erected, connecting the train station to the vehicle-open area of Piazzale Roma. As was usual in the past, people can still take a ferry ride across the canal at several points by standing up on the deck of a simple gondola called traghetto.
Most of the palaces emerge from water without pavement. Consequently, one can only tour past the fronts of the buildings on the grand canal by boat.
Photo Credit: Mikael