The Grand Canal (Canal Grande) is a canal in Venice, Italy, which forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city.
At one end the canal leads into the lagoon near 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 (sestieri) of Venice. It is 3,800 m long, 30–90 m wide, with an average depth of five meters (16.5 ft). The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date to 13th to the 18th century and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. The noble Venetian families faced huge expenses to show off their richness in suitable palazzos: this contest reveals the citizens’ pride and the deep bond with the lagoon. Amongst the many are the Palazzi Barbaro, Ca' Rezzonico, Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca' Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo and to Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, housing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The churches along the canal include the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute.
There is a public transport provided by water buses (vaporetti) and private water taxis, and many tourists explore the canal by gondola. Because most of the city's traffic goes along the Canal rather than across it, only one bridge crossed the canal until the 19th century, the Rialto Bridge. There are currently two more bridges, the Ponte degli Scalzi and the Ponte dell'Accademia. A fourth, controversial bridge, Ponte della Costituzione, designed by Santiago Calatrava was recently erected, connecting the train station to the vehicle-open area of Piazzale Roma. As was usual in the past, people can still take a ferry ride across the canal at several points by standing up on the deck of a simple gondola called traghetto. Most of the palaces emerge from water without pavement. Consequently, one can only tour past the fronts of the buildings on the grand canal by boat.
Every year along the Canal there are centuries-old traditions perpetuated. On the first Sunday of September takes place the Historical Regatta (Regata Storica), a competition between Venetian boats watched by thousands of people from the banks or from floating stands. Competitions are preceded by a historical procession (Corteo Storico) remembering the entrance of the Queen of Cyprus Catherine Cornaro after abdication in 1489: gondoliers in costumes sail in typical 16th century boats following the Bucentaur, doge's state galley.
On November 21, Venetians thank the Virgin Mary for saving from the plague epidemic in 1630-38 with a pilgrimage to Santa Maria della Salute. Pilgrims cross Grand Canal on a temporary pontoon bridge from Campo Santa Maria Zobenigo, and enjoy stalls and traditional dishes.
Inside of Grand Canal in Venice you can also find: St Mark's Square in Venice , The Basilica of St Mary of Health . Palazzo Grassi . Rialto Bridge . Ponte dell'Accademia . Gallerie dell'Accademia . Constitution Bridge in Venice . Ca' d'Oro . Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti . Ca' Rezzonico . Punta della Dogana . Palazzo Venier dei Leoni . Ca' Pesaro . The Piazzetta di San Marco . Zecca of Venice .