Notes, Thoughts, and Ideas.

Traveling with Art: The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

A postcard view of the Grand Canal. You can spot a gondola in the middle of the water. (From S&C Etc. in Bellingham)

A postcard view of the Grand Canal. You can spot a gondola in the middle of the water.

If you know Venice, Italy, you know the plight it faces today: rising water levels threaten to overtake the city.

So it’s all the more reason to enjoy the views of Venice while we can.

This postcard shows a view of the Grand Canal of Venice, one of the main means of traffic in the city. It snakes through the city for over two miles. Some believe that the canal goes the same route as an ancient river.

A painting of the Grand Canal by the artist Canaletto, an 18th century Italian artist.

A painting of the Grand Canal by the artist Canaletto, an 18th century Italian artist.

The Canal is lined with over 170 buildings that are over 200 years old. Many of these structures come from show-off noble Venetian families with huge amounts of money during the Republic of Venice, and they are certainly structures to admire. Check out the various styles – you can spot Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance style buildings.

One can do so by riding through the canal on the tourist favorite gondola, or on a more practical public water bus (cars are highly restricted and mostly banned from the city)

Il Molo, as pictured on this postcard, acts as a quay that is an entrance to the Grand Canal.

Il Molo, as pictured on this postcard, acts as a quay that is an entrance to the Grand Canal.

Only four bridges cross the canal. Until the 19th century, there was only the Rialto Bridge, a beautiful classic stone bridge that had to be rebuilt twice after collapsing under the weight of crowds (the most recent rebuild has not given any foot traffic a surprise canal bath).

Clearly, the canal is a place of deep and complex history, just like the rest of Venice. Although much of the city has been taken over by the tourism industry, plenty of its history is still maintained and ready to be discovered.

Make sure to check out our other Italy articles on Rome and Mount Vesuvius!

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