The Grand Canal is one of the major water-traffic corridors in Venice and used by water buses as well as private water taxis. Traditional gondola is popular here. It is flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat.
The two ends of Grand Canal leads to Santa Lucia railway station and Saint Mark Basin.
Description of Grand Canal
About 170 old buildings are lined up on the banks of Grand Canal and most of those date back to as early as 13th century. Until 19th century there was just one bridge over the canal and it is known as the Rialto Bridge that was built between 1588 and 1591. Three more bridges were constructed later and those are the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Ponte dell’Accademia, and the controversial Ponte della Costituzione.
History of Grand Canal
Also called as Canale Grande in Italian, the Grand Canal of Venice divides the city into two parts. It is a natural channel and traces a reverse-S course from San Marco Basilica to Santa Chiara Church. It is 3.8 km long and between 30 to 90 meter wide. Average depth of the canal is 16.5 feet.
One of the first settlements grew in the current area of Rialto Bridge on both sides of the canal. By 10th century it became a safe center for trade with ship-accessible port. Some of the old buildings here were houses of merchants who did business on the seas. Many buildings are without pavement and seems like emerging from water.
Traveling on the Grand Canal
Traveling on water bus is the best to explore the Grand Canal. It runs end to end. The bus is called as Vaporetto in locan language and it is cost-effective as well as most efficient mode of transportation. For those who want to spend some time in the city it is suggested to buy a travelcard for time periods that ranges from 12 to 72 hours.
Events At Grand Canal
First Sunday of every September Historical Regatta competition takes place between the Veteran boats and thousands of people from the banks watch it. A historical procession also takes place to mark entrance of Queen of Cyprus Catherine Comaro following abdiction in 1489.
Venice was engulfed with plague epidemic in 1630-38 and on November 21 veterans thank the virgin Marry.
Bridges of Grand Canal
Rialto Bridge offered the first dry crossing of the cana and was built in 1181 by Nicolo Barattieri.
The Ponte degli Scalzi bridge connects sestieri of Santa Croce and Cannaregio. It was completed in 1934 and built by Eugenio Miozzi.
Ponte dell’Accademia was designed by Alfred Neville and opened for the public in November 1854. However, it was demolished and replaced with wooden bridge designed by Eugenio Miozzi. The bridge was reopened in 1933.
Ponte della Costituzione bridge was built in 2008 celebrating 60th anniversary of the Italian constitution and designed by Santiago Calatrava. It connects Stazione Santa Lucia railway station with Piazzale Roma.
When To Explore
It is better suggested to take the bus ride in the evening as the lights of Venice are breathtaking.
Several routes connect the railway station but none to the airport. So, it is necessary to take a different water taxi line for the Marco Polo Airport.