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Gran Canal

Gran Canal (1A)

The Grand Canal, the main thoroughfare of the network of Venetian canals, is a giant inverted “S” that is 4 kilometres long which, on its winding route, goes through the whole city as if it was a great avenue in any conventional city.

Called Canalazzo by the local population, this long thoroughfare of vital importance for Venice’s communication, has a minimum width of 30 metres, although its banks can be separated by more than 70 metres. In the past, in the times of the Serenissima Republic, it was witness to the frenetic coming and going of galleys and commercial boats loaded with all kinds of goods. Today it is populated by launches, vaporetti and, of course, gondolas. 

Going along the Grand Canal is in itself a tremendously exciting experience, since before the visitor’s eyes unfolds a majestic display of the abundant palaces that bear witness to the opulence of the former inhabitants of the city. 

Although there are various regular vaporetto lines that cover the route, Line 1 is particularly recommendable, since by stopping at all the stops, the journey is slower, thus making it possible to appreciate all the details that much more. It leaves from Piazzale Roma and goes as far as the Piazza San Marco, and then goes on towards the Lido.  

In September the Regatta Storica takes place here, an event that recalls the glorious naval past of the city, and in which period boats manned by crews wearing traditional costumes sail the waters of the Canalazzo followed in procession by dozens of other boats and gondolas, which gleefully join the great spectacle.

Traditionally, the two banks of the Grand Canal have been joined by three bridges, the Scalzi, the Rialto and the Accademia. However, in 2007 a fourth bridge was built, designed by Santiago Calatrava, at the level of Piazzale Roma. Not free from controversy due to its modern style, the bridge, known as the Walkway of Light, for many Venetians symbolises that the city, despite its ancestral roots, is looking hard towards the future. In fact, we could say that the bridge is building links between the mythical history of the past and the as-yet unwritten future.

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