This is the big "avenue" going through Venice. Actually, it cuts through the various neighborhoods in an S shape. The Grand Canal itself is 3800 meters long, is 30-90 meters in width and about 15 meters in depth.
Along the Grand Canal was considered the most prestigious place to be, so naturally the rich merchants and the powerful of Venice liked to build their palazzos along the Grand Canal.
If you just get on the vaporetto and go down the Grand Canal you can get a nice appreciation for the palazzos and the wealth involved in this. You also get a nice chance to see the varied forms of Architecture.
We took a boat trip along the Canal and could admire the Venetian Gothic architecture.
The Grand Canal 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 the 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 of Venice. It is 3,800 m long, 30–90 m wide, with an average depth of five meters.
You can watch my 3 min 22 sec Video Venice Grand Canal out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Venice the city of love will always be one of my favorite cities. A city filled with canals and water, the grandest of them is the Grand Canal. It literally cuts right through Venice and is the highway of all the water transports (gondola services) and water buses; the Italians call them Vaporetti. The views along the canal are magnificent, nothing short of impressive. I still remember the sunset like it was yesterday. This review is long coming of course; I was in Italy in 1998 and spend a great many evenings watching the sunset over Venice. Being in love and all, everything was magnified, the beauty, the water, the romance of strangers, the music in the distance, the smell of fresh wine and spirits.
While on the canal in the evening, the glistening of the sun on the water creates a vision like no other. For the regular visiting, this becomes a common occurrence, but for a first time visitor, there is nothing more beautiful. What is more impressive still is how old the canal is and the architecture with which it was build. Perhaps you don’t know, but most of Venice is built on water. The city is held up on wood plucks stuck deep into the swamps and the canals made of waters drained from the original swamps.
You must visit the Grand Canal if you find yourself in Venice. Take a loved on with, you will enjoy it more.
In my first visit to Venice, I was impressed by... a funeral. A boat with a coffin in the middle, surrounded by flowers, crossed the canal.
Natural... It's main street. But it's strange, the way the water separates things, and at the same time joins them, in a different way.
No visit to Venice is complete without a trip in Grand canal.
The first thing you should do on any visit to Venice is take a trip up the Grand Canal on any of the local water taxis that ply its snaking inverted s-shaped length. Take a trip when you arrive, and then take several more trips, in both directions, at night, at sunset, and first thing in the morning. You'll see something different each time, and the water taxis give relatively cheap entertainment in an expensive city. You can ride out on a gondola too, if you feel like splashing out.
There are beautiful buildings stretching out all along the Grand Canal, but the key sight on the journey from the Stazione to the Plaza San Marco is the Rialto bridge, striding the Canal Grande about half way up its length. This magnificent and famous bridge was originally nothing more than a floating pontoon, set down in the 12th century to serve the market on the east bank. The current stone bridge dates from 1591, and was considered such an outrageous design at the time, that it was thought it could never last very long. And yet here it still is.
It happens that all my visits to Venice took place in winter or spring. That way, I always saw a rainy or grey town.
The balance between dusk and artificial lights allowed, in my last visit, this good picture of Rialto by my friend Paulo. It's interesting to see the face of town changing so deeply and quickly. And, no matter the weather, each direction you look or picture has its own beauty (if you forget degradation...).
The Grand Canal is Venice's main thoroughfare. Water buses and water taxis are the main transportation to navigate Venice's central districts. Visitors usually explore the canal by hiring gondalas. The canal is around 3,800m in length and approximately 30-90m in width.
The main attractions on the Grand Canal are the many palaces and buildings that were built between the 1200s to 1700s. Wealth and art were big things in the former Republic of Venice and flaunted by the noble proud venetian families.
There are three bridges on the Grand Canal with the most famous and oldest one being the Rialto Bridge.
Every year the Canal hosts the Historical Regatta.
The Grand Canal counts a number of palaces which belong to the 5* Luxe hotels.
On the left bank one finds the Gritti palace at the S.Maria del Giglio vaporetto stop, the Europa e Regina facing the Salute, the Bauer facing the Dogana to end with the most known Danieli on the basin of San Marco.
The most sumptuous from the exterior is the Palazzo Gritti from the 16th c (photo 1). I dreamed of staying in this Palazzo hotel until I read the comments on Trip Advisor:
141 comments of which 10 "terrible", 21 "poor", 18 "average", 25 "very good" and 66 "excellent".
I felt from my chair. How is it possible that a prestigious hotel like the Gritti gets 22% bad critics when guests pay between 500 and 900 €/night and only 62% of the guests recommend this hotel!
The Westin Europa & Regina (photo 2) gets a better score: on 420 comments are 20 "terrible", 34 "poor" that is 13% bad critics and 79% recommend. Prices are somewhat lower from 400 till 800 €/night.
Palazzo Bauer (photo 3) gets the best score from these 4 Luxe Palace hotels: on 359 comments 12 are "terrible", 19 "poor" that is 9% bad critics; 86% recommend. Prices between 500 and 1000 € (this is for the Palazzo on the Grand Canal, there are lower prices for the building in the back called Bauer hotel).
These 3 palace hotels have private terraces with restaurants directly on the Grand Canal and their own embarcadero for the water taxis.
For the most famous Danieli on 383 critics 29 are "terrible", 34 "poor" that is a total of 16% bad critics; 73% recommend. Price between 400 and 700€/night. As you can see from my photo the hotel occupies 3 buildings (photo 4). The ochre one in the middle has the monumental hall and staircase. The Danieli has no terrace on the water but on the roof. The entrance is on the very crowded quay with souvenir shops for tourists (photo 5).
The prices I mention are from Expedia, Westin and Bauer for the period of May 2011.
The lowest are for standard rooms (no view) the higher ones for de luxe rooms but not necessarily with a Canal or Lagoon view. The rooms with good views are generally suites with prices between 1000 and 2000 €/night.
What I find terrible is that 5* Luxe hotels in Venice are unable to obtain a minimum of 95% satisfaction from customers who pay such high prices. What is even more terrible when you read the critics of their guests are the many complaints about bad service!
If I was a rich man I would buy this palace on the Grand Canal close to the Salute and facing the beautiful Palazzo Corner della Ca' Grande.
From my first visit to Venice in the 1970's my wife and I liked this palace with a façade covered with mosaics from Murano what makes it unique in Venice.
It was originally built in the 16th century but the mosaics were added in 1886 by the new owners who had a company producing glass art in Murano (Compagnia Venezia Murano now Pauly & C). The transformation with the mosaics was not appreciated by the neighbours of the palace who found this bad taste of "nouveaux riches".
It needs to be said that Palazzo Barbarigo is located on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere at the junction with the Rio San Vio.
Actually as discussed with MM212 there are several Palazzo Barbarigo in Venice.
Most confusing is Hotel Palazzo Barbarigo which was also called Barbarigo della Terrazza Palace located on the Grand Canal but in the Sestiere San Polo at the junction with the rio San Polo (near the S. Toma vaporetto stop).
There is also a Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto on the other side of the Canal near the S. Maria del Giglio vaporetto stop where classical music including opera's is played.
To make it more confusing there is also a Palazzo Barbarigo Nani in the Dorsoduro sestiere near the campo di San Trovaso.
Palaces with the same family name are rather common in Venice. It's part of the game finding the right one. The Palazzo Barbarigo with the mosaics cannot be missed.
Famous for the Murano glass mosaics covering its Grand Canal façade, Palazzo Barbarigo is one of the most unique in Venice. It was built in the 16th century, but its façade was not covered in mosaics until the 19th century. The owners of Palazzo Barbarigo had the mosaics custom made at their family's very own glass factory on Murano Island.
NOTE: the Palazzo Barbarigo I describe is NOT the same as the hotel with the same name. For information about the hotel, go to their website at: www.palazzobarbarigo.it.
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