The Grand Canal of Venice
Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 17, 2012
The Canal Grande or Grand Canal of Venice is the city’s main water-traffic corridor. It winds in an S-shape from the Santa Lucia train station to St. Mark’s Square. Most of its buildings date between the 13th and 18th century, when it became a mark of social status to have a palazzo (palace) on the main canal of Venice. There are almost no sidewalks along the Grand Canal. The only way to access these buildings is by boat — gondola, vaporetto (water bus), or water taxi.
Many of the lovely old buildings have been converted into expensive hotels.
Everything has to be brought into Venice by barge. And, yes, garbage and sewage go out the same way….
The Fondaco dei Turchi (below) was built in the 13th century and heavily restored in the 19th century. From the early 1600s to 1838, it was a one-building ghetto for Venice’s Turkish traders (hence, the name). A fondaco is a building that combines a warehouse and residence. The portico on ground level facilitated unloading of boats into the storage rooms on the same level. The residential areas are behind the loggia on the first floor.
Between the 13th and 19th centuries, the only way across the Grand Canal was over the Rialto Bridge. After a number of accidents and collapses, the Venetian Republic realised the wisdom of building the bridge with stone instead of wood and this structure was completed in 1591.
A depiction of one of the old wooden bridges is preserved in the painting, Miracle of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto, from 1496:
The church of Santa Maria della Salute was built in 1631 as a votive offering for being delivered from the Plague (salute = health).