The Grand Canal in Venice is one of the places in this world that many travelers have on their list of favorites (or places they wish to visit!). This is for good reason; a trip through the canal on a water taxi or Venetian water bus will give the visitor the experience of Venice that they have been anticipating. The Canal is lined with close to two-hundred buildings; it is exactly as you envision: a city with a water way instead of a street. The feeling that you may be on a movie set is coupled with the contrasting appreciation of experiencing an area inhabited before the roman age in a most indescribable way. There is simply an overload of human accomplishment; the Venetian Gothic architecture warrants several trips down the canal; you will simply not have enough time to take in all of the nuance during a single ride down the 3,800 meter canal.
We recommend taking a ride down the Grand Canal the first day of your trip to Venice. Make sure to go with a guide who can point out places of historical significance. This way you will have plenty of destinations to explore on the rest of your trip. Some of the main attractions include the Calatrava Bridge (the gate to the mainland), The Palazzo Vendramin Calergi (a renaissance building dating back to the early 1500's that was once home to the german musician Richard Wagner), and the Ca’ d’Oro (also called the "golden house" and built at then end of the middle ages).
There are so many more; we can't stress enough the need to make several trips down the canal to enjoy it fully and make plans to visit some of the sites you discover when you are back on land! This is definitely not only a must-see site in Italy; it is a reason to come on its own.
Photo by CM Ortega on flickr
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