Been here? Rate It!
The main arterial road.
On my last visit to Venice my perception of the Grand Canal was different from the previous visits where I had been, sitting at the bow of the vaporetto, admiring the palaces appearing one after another in my field of view.
This time as I could see the Mercado-market from where I was staying and got interested in the Grand Canal as the main economical arterial road of Venice. Indeed each morning I saw cargo boats unloading their polystyrene foam boxes with fish and other sea food as well as ice for the stalls (photo 1).
Studies were made of the boat traffic on the 150 canals. The delivery of goods ands services account for 46%, public transport including water taxis is 40%, private or "sport" boats take 10% and gondola 4%.
Cargo traffic varies most from low to high tourist season. There is consistent congestion at the landings what is easy to observe at the Rialto (photo 2). You have to realize that most of the hotels, restaurants and shops get goods from the cargo boats. These goods have to be unloaded and transported by handcarts over the steps of the many bridges.
The gondola contribute heavily to traffic congestion (photo 3) but produce no pollution while all the motor boats pollute the air, are noisy and contribute most to the wake pollution effects on the buildings called "moto ondoso".
What is amazing with all that traffic on the canals is that I never saw an accident or incident. All of them are virtuosos of maneuvering their boats.
I put here a video from two vaporetto's in the turn of the Rialto Bridge and another of a vaporetto passing through a group of gondola.
Funny and rather exceptional was that sort of Kayak (photo 4) on the Grand Canal. It is a fact that unlike cars in a city, private transport is a minority in Venice.
Luxe Hotels in former Palaces.
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!
- Luxury Travel
Fondaco dei Turchi – Natural History Museum (I&V)
Fondaco dei Turchi is one of the most beautiful buildings on Canal Grande. It was erected in the first half of the 13th century by Giacomo Palmieri. This building was bought by the Venetian Republic twice, in 1381 and in 1621, after it was owned by several Venetian families. Venetian Republic conceded it to the Turkish merchants. They kept it as their dwelling and commercial headquarters until 1838. Home of the Correr Civic Museum since 1922 (nowadays on Piazza San Marco), today the building houses the Natural History Museum which is to be fully opened for the public in years to come. Right now just room with dinosaurs' skeletons and aquarium can be visited.
Best view of Fondaco dei Turchi is from Pontile di San Marcuola.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Palazzo Barbarigo - the palace with mosaics.
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.
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
A cheap date on the vaporetto 1 or 82
Venice from the Grand Canal is beautiful.
Once early in the morning, just after sunrise, hop on the vaporetto water "bus" at the Santa Lucia train station and cruise slowly down the whole Grand Canal. If you have lots of time and patience take the #1 (stops everywhere) or for a quicker tour, take the 82 (express).
Repeat after dark.
The trick is making sure you are first in line so that you can sit in the front.
I think it is worth letting one bus go if the waiting line is long so that you are first in line for the next one (you're starting at the station) and can pick your favorite seat in the front of the boat.
Cheap date, beautiful ride, and beats getting ripped off by the gondolas.
THE GRAND CANAL
“The most beautiful street in the world” – Phillippe De Commynes, Charles 8 of France, Ambassador in 1495…..
If only all of the streets in the World were a ‘Canalazzo’, a perfect slide through canal and palazzo, a waterway through 120 palaces and 15 churches, this world would have been a more magnificent splendour.
This waterway is about 5 meters deep and 30 to 70 meters wide, 21.5 miles long from the heart of the city Piazzale Roma to St. Mark’s Square.
To view this canal one should take a waterbus or vaporetto.
No. 1 stops at every stage
No. 82 stops at the station, Rialto and St. Mark’s Square.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Canal Grande is the main water road in Venice and one of the symbols of the town. It crossing the city from its north-westernly corner up to the south-easternly one. It begins near Piazzale Roma, the entrance point to the city from mainland and leads to Piazza San Marco and to the lagoon, in front of the Isola della Giudecca.
Along its sides there were many watermills powered by tides, wool and silk factories and the old dockyards of the Republic of Venice. By the years the sides of Canal Grande became a residential area and along its banks the architects built the residences of the most important noble families of the town.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Everything is transformed from the moment you step out from Piazzale Roma and onto Venetian splendor. Stop and cast your eyes for the first time onto the Grand Canal.
This is the mainstreet of Venice, the Grand Canal. It is the largest of the more than one hundred canals that link over one hundred islands to make up what we know as Venice. Artists throughout the ages have tried to capture the Grand Canal's splendor and awe-inspiring nature.
However, for the less than artistic, we can still enjoy its beauty without aid of a pencil, watercolor, or camera. Simply sit back and let someone do the work for you while you take in scenes of the grand palazzos that line the canal or examine the three bridges that span its waters. Whatever your choice, do ride the entire length of the Grand Canal at different times of the day. You will certainly get a different feel for it at any given time.
I highly recommend the taking the "slow" vaporetto so that you can absorb in all the greatness and intricacies that the Grand Canal offers. However, there is also the route of the gondola...this will give you a different perspective of the Canal.
Grand Canal by night
Now here is something you should not miss : a ride on vaporetto line 1 (or 82 during summer) at night.
Why? Because that's when you will see the inside of the palaces around the Canal. You will see how richly they are decorated and why they are called 'palazzo'.
Dont do it too late in the summertime though. Try to do it as close as sunset as you can so most of them will still be lit. If you are in Venice during the Carnivale, I can only assume that they must be lit all night long!
The First Thing You Should Do...
...when you arrive at the Piazzale Roma is to get a ticket for the No. 1 or 82 vaporetto. It will take you straight down the Canale Grande past all of the grand palazzi. For the first-time visitor it is a great introduction to this fascinating city. When we did this it was like being in a dream to float down the canal and see these magnificent homes up close and in person! My mouth was wide open the entire time! Simply magical!
The 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.
Vivaldi's Venezia on Canale Grande.
Venezia at last. Canale Grande gleaming in the early morning May sunlight. Where was the vast and endless multitude of tourists that the tourism gods promised me that I would encounter in this great city of legends ? They were nowhere in sight. Perhaps I was in the wrong city. But no, I was unmistakedly in legendary Venezia . There is no other city on earth like the goddess of Adriatica.
I could almost hear the emotionally charged and passionate music from Antonio's violin preserved somewhere within the water of Canale Grande. Somewhere within the crowded mix of ancient buildings shown in the photo is Papa Giovanni's barber shop. He not only gave great haircuts but he was also more skilled at surgery than the vein opening and clueless " physicians " of his time. Needless to say the barbers who still practiced medicine posed a threat to the physicians. Along with his other skills Giovanni was a violin maestro who was part of the basilica San Marco orchestra.
The appearance of the great city of Venezia has changed incredibly little during the nearly 300 years that have passed since the Vivaldi family called it home. No wonder that one can almost feel the presence of Antonio Vivaldi and other famous Venetians from days gone by. Therein lies much of the mystique, magic, and serenity of this great city.
- Historical Travel
Palazzi di Venezia
No city in the world boasts a larger collection of sumptuous palaces than does Venice. Erected mostly during the apogee of the city-state of Venice between the 13th and 16th centuries, these palazzi are a testament to the prosperity of la Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia. The grandest palazzi were built on the Grand Canal by influential merchant families made wealthy through Venetian trade around the Mediterranean and with the Orient (i.e., Middle East). Each palazzo is unique and built in one of several distinctive Venetian architectural styles. Byzantine elements are apparent in older palaces, while later ones are either Baroque or Neoclassical in style, though the signature look is Venetian gothic (gotico fiorito) as in the attached pictures (see additional tips in this page and also Travelogues Palazzi di Venezia I, II and III for more examples). Venetian palaces continue to this day to serve as architectural models for mansions around the world.
- Castles and Palaces
- Arts and Culture
il Canal Grande
The Grand Canal meanders through Venice like a river. It is the city's widest canal and a showcase of many of its greatest palazzi with the most elaborate façades. It is crossed only by three bridges, the most famous of which is Ponte di Rialto. The best way to see the canal and its architectural masterpieces is to take the vaporetto (public ferry) from the southern tip of the canal to the railway station at the northern end. This is a MUST for first time visitors to Venice! For a more romantic (and expensive) ambiance, you may choose to take a private boat ride. Many of the Grand Canal's palaces are described in tips further below, and others are included among the photos in the travelogues: Palazzi di Venezia I, II and III.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
Grand canal trip by the vaporetto
Venice's vaporetti (singular - vaporetto), or water buses, are the public transportation of Venice. Vaporetti take visitors along the main canals, to the islands, and around the lagoon. Although often crowded, they are by far the least expensive way to get around (other than walking). If you're visiting Venice, sooner or later you'll probably find yourself on a vaporetto.
In 2008 the single vaporetto fare is 6.50 euro (good for one hour from the time it's stamped) but if you plan to spend much time on the vaporetto system, it's wise to buy a travelcard that can be bought at any vaporetto ticket office.
- Book now for big savings!
- Hotels.com Outstanding choice of hotels all over the world at fantastic prices.
- Save up to 50% off Hotels Everyday
- Expedia.com Photos, Reviews and the Guaranteed Lowest Prices
Venice Travel Guide
Explore the World
- Poughkeepsie Hotels
- Talomo Hotels
- Saint George Basseterre
- Imouzzer du Kandar
- Varpalota Hotels
- Provincia de Heredia Hotels