Venice guide: The Grand Canal

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Venice Grand Canal


The Canal Grande
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The Canal Grande (Grand Canal).
Disabled travellers should learn to spot the different boats, as wheelchairs can be accommodated on vaporetti and motonavi but not on motoscafi (more info: Informahandicap).
Vaporetti run to a tight schedule, with sailing times marked clearly at stops for each line that ties up there. Regular services run from about 5am to shortly after midnight, after which a frequent night service (N) follows the route taken by Line 82 during the day. The main lines ply the Grand Canal,
or circle the island. Without a clear idea of Venetian topography, taking the wrong boat in the wrong direction is easy.
As a rule of thumb, remember that if you're standing with your back to the station and want to make yourway down the Grand Canal, take Line 1 (slow) or Line 82 (faster) heading left.
The stop called San Zaccaria is the closest to Piazza San Marco. Minimally further away, the stop now called Vallaresso used to be called San Marco; you may still find it labelled thus on old maps or timetables.

From 'Vaporetto stop Rialto' to 'Vaporetto stop Ferrovia'
(North-west) The San Marco shore
  The Salute shore
Vaporetto stop Rialto
Just after the Rialto stop is Palazzo Manin Dolfin, with a portico straddling the fondamenta. The facade is by Sansovino (late 1530s); the rest was rebuilt by Ludovico Manin, the forlorn last Doge of Venice. It now belongs to the Bank of Italy.

Ponte del Rialto (Rialto Bridge)
Rialto Bridge (Ponte del Rialto)
At the foot of the bridge is the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a huge residence cum warehouse leased to the German community from the 13th century on. The present building was built by Spavento and Scarpagnino in 1505-8 after a fire.
The Ca' da Mosto, once the site of the Leon Bianco (white lion) hotel, is one of the earliest Veneto-Byzantine palazzi on the Grand Canal.
Just beyond the rio dei Santi Apostoli is Palazzo Mangilli Valmarana, built in 1751 for Joseph Smith, the British consul, who amassed the huge collection of Canaletto paintings that now belongs to the Queen.
The building is now the Argentinian Consulate.
  The Ponte di Rialto was built in 1588-92 by the aptly named Antonio Da Ponte. Until the 19th century it was the only bridge over the Grand Canal.

Beyond the Rialto Bridge, the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi (1523-5) is built around the curve of the Canal; the walls lean noticeably.
The Fabbriche Vecchie by Scarpagnino was built after a fire in the early 16th century. Just beyond them, the longer Fabbriche Nuove, by Sansovino, is now the Court of Assizes.
Further on is the large Palazzo Corner della Regina, with a rusticated ground floor featuring grotesque masks, some just above water level.
On the rio Ca' Pesaro, and with a magnificent side wall curving along the canal in gleaming marble, is Ca' Pesaro, a a splendid example of Venetian baroque by Longhena.

Vaporetto stop Ca' d'Oro
Beyond the vaporetto stop is the
Ca' d'Oro itself, the most gorgeously ornate Gothic building on the Canal.
The next building of note, afetr a fairly dull stretch, is Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, an impressive Renaissance palazzo built by Codussi in the first decade of the 16th century.
Vaporetto stop San Stae
  The church of San Stae has a baroque facade by Domenico Rossi, with exuberant sculpture.
The Depositi del Megio (state granaries) have a battlemented plain brick facade.
On the other side of the Rio del Megio stands the Fontego dei Turchi, a 19th century reconstruction of the original Veneto-Byzantine building, which was leased to Turkish traders in the 17th century as a residence and warehouse.
Vaporetto stop San Marcuola
Beyond the wide Cannaregio Canal is Palazzo Labia, the 18th century home of the seriously rich Labia family
(Tiepolo frescoes).
Next door is the church of San Geremia.
Palazzo Flangini is a 17th century building by Sardi.
Vaporetto stop Riva di Biasio
Ponte degli Scalzi (Scalzi Bridge)
Scalzi Bridge (Ponte degli Scalzi)
At the foot of the Ponte degli Scalzi is the fine baroque facade of the Scalzi church, recently restored.

  The Ponte degli Scalzi which leads across to the station was built in stone by Eugenio Miozzi in 1934.

Vaporetto stop Ferrovia
(North-west) The San Marco shore
The Salute shore
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