Lonely Planet review for Grand Canal
Venice's Grand Canal is the artery along which courses the city's lifeblood. To ply its length time and again, on each occasion making new discoveries, is a pleasure only the most insensitive souls could tire of.
The 3.5km canal supports an everchanging parade of vaporetti, transport barges, water taxis, private speedboats, gondolas, police patrol boats, water ambulances and so on. The floating pageant is backed on either side by more than 100 palazzi (mansions) dating from the 12th to the 18th centuries.
Jump on the No 1 all-stops vaporetto at Piazzale Roma. Past Rio di San Marcuola, Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi is on the left. To the right, just after the San Stae stop, is Ca' Pesaro, which houses the Galleria d'Arte Moderna and Museo d'Arte Orientale.
Shortly after is the Ca' d'Oro, beyond which the boat turns towards the 16th-century Ponte di Rialto and the Rialto produce markets. It sweeps past more fine mansions to the wooden Ponte dell'Accademia, the stop for the art gallery of the same name, and on past the grand Chiesa di Santa Maria della Salute before reaching San Marco.