Il Canal Grande – the Grand Canal – is Venice’s principle waterway. Winding through the city of Venice, it is some 3.8km long.
Given that automobiles are not permitted in Venice, locals must travel throughout the city on foot of by boat. As the Grand Canal winds through the entire city of Venice, it is thus frequented by much of Venice’s transport.
From the 13th-18th centuries, many of Venice’s most important families built their palaces along this important waterway. Much significance was given to the façades facing onto the Grand Canal as a show of wealth and power to those travelling through Venice by water.
Some of these buildings constructed along the waterway restrict the possibility of walking the entire length of the Grand Canal. It is however possible – and indeed, highly recommended – to travel along Venice’s most famous canal to see the city at its most picturesque.
The Grand Canal was originally constructed to be much wider, but over time the canal has been narrowed by the various constructions along its banks. Today its width ranges from just 30 to 90 metres.
There are presently four bridges across the Grand Canal - the most famous being undoubtedly the Rialto.
Where there were no bridges, locals would cross in a ‘tragehetto’, a gondola-esque vessel that would cross back and forth across the Grand Canal, with those aboard standing up so as to fit more people aboard. This is a tradition that continues today in parts of the Grand Canal that are a long way from a bridge.
Gondolas are only allowed on the Grand Canal at certain times of day (with the hours changing with the seasons) and even then they are only permitted to cross the waterway to access the many smaller canals that stretch out throughout Venice.
Our English-speaking skipper will then accompany you to the nearest water access of your accommodation in central Venice*.