The Grand Canal is Venice's main artery. This one is almost four kilometers long, and wide on 30-70 meters (the depth is nowhere more than five meters) the canal divides the city into two parts (three sestieres lie to the west of it, and three to the east). Most of Venice's important palaces stand on the Grand Canal, and their facades face the canal and are often fully visible only from the water side (the entire city is dotted with palaces, but rarely has his back to the water). The following section is a brief description of these palaces, while the more important churches and other structures are included in the description of their neighborhoods.
The first of the palaces, which rises on the left bank, to Palazzo Labia (completed approx. year 1750). The main façade of this building runs along the Cannaregio Canal, but from the Grand Canal you can see, how the side wing of the palace wraps around the bell tower of the neighboring church. Such interpenetration of buildings is very common in Venice, because the area had to be used to the maximum (tooth. „Cannaregio”).
The Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi is not far from here, built by Mauro Coducci at the beginning of the. XVI century. It is the first palace in Venice, which was erected in accordance with the classical principles of Renaissance architecture formulated by Alberti and is often referred to as the masterpiece of the Grand Canal. Windows with three circular arches (two smaller ones and one larger one encompassing them) are the hallmark of the Coducci style. The dimensions of this palace, in which year 1883 Ryszard Wagner died, can be assessed better, when it weighs in, that the 15-room apartment he rented occupied only part of the mezzanine.
Right behind Rio di San Felice you pass the most attractive of all the canal palaces, Ca’ d’Oro. Reconstruction of the thirteenth-century palace, who stood in this place before, began in the 20s of the 15th century, and the name of the "Golden House."” obtained a new palace thanks to gilding, which used to decorate most of the facade carvings. Today it houses a large art museum (tooth. „Castello”).
One of the oldest palaces on the Grand Canal is located near the mouth of the Rio dei Santi Apostoli, Ca 'da Mosto. The arches on the first floor and the carved slabs above them are remains of a 13th-century Venetian-Byzantine structure. One of the most famous hotels in Venice was located here in the 15th and 19th centuries, Hotel of the Lion Blanco.
The Ponte di Rialto emerges at a bend in the canal (most Rialto). There is a huge building in front of it with five large arches on the ground floor, is the former seat of German merchants in the city, Fondaco dei Tedeschi. The palace was rebuilt after a fire of the year 1505, and then it was renovated several times (during the last one it was transformed into the headquarters of the main post office). The outer walls were once decorated with frescoes by Giorgione and Titian, the remains of which are stored today at Ca 'd'Oro. The bridge itself was built between 1588-91 at location, where previously there were other wooden ones, not always solid structures. Up to a year 1854, when the iron bridge near Accademia was built, Rialto was the only place, where it was possible to cross the canal on foot.
On the banks of the next canal rises Venice's first Sansovina Palace, Dolfin-Manin Palace. It comes from the end of the thirties of the 16th century, when work on his other projects was advanced, library, the Mint and Loggetta, which were to change the face of the city center. Standing side by side at the end of the Fondamenta del Carbon, Palazzo Loredan i Palazzo Farsetti, are significantly rebuilt 13th-century buildings. Elena Corner Piscopia lived in the first of them, who was the first woman to receive a university degree (she graduated from the University of Padua in 1678).
In year 1556 on the shores of Rio di San Luca, the construction of Palazzo Grimani, designed by Sanmichel, began, but it was only finished 16 years after his death, in year 1575. The beauty of this palace was appreciated even by Ruskin, who was not a supporter of Renaissance architecture, who described it as "simple, delicate and sublime”.
Before the sharp bend of the canal (Vault of the Canal) there are five buildings, the first four of which belonged to the Mocenigo family. This group consists of the Palazzo Mocenigo-Nero, built at the end of the 16th century, the double Palazzo Mocenigo, An 18th-century extension of Nero (Byron lived here for two years) and the gothic Palazzo Mocenigo Vecchio, rebuilt in the 17th century. The latter is said to be haunted by the spirit of the philosopher-alchemist Giordano Bruno, for which a year 1592 Giovanni Mocenigo denounced, which resulted in torture and, eventually, the execution of the scientist. The name of the fifth palace, Contarini delle Figurę Palace, comes from the almost invisible figures above the entrance.
Huge, beautifully renovated edifice behind the Volta, it's built over the years 1748-72 Palazzo Grassi, today a conference center and the city's most dynamic showroom. It owes a great renovation to its wealthy owner, Fiat concern.
The Santa Maria del Giglio vaporetto dock is overshadowed by one of the canal's most impressive structures, Corner Palace of the Ca 'Grandę Sansovina. The house that used to stand here burned down, when the fire was lit to drain the sugar accumulated in one of the rooms, it spread throughout the building. The construction of the Sansovina palace began in the year 1545.
In series XV- and 17th-century palaces opposite the Church of Salute is pressed against the narrow gothic Palazzo Contarini-Fasan, which is distinguished by unique tracery with round shapes, decorating balconies. For no apparent reason, the palace is popularly referred to as the House of Desdemona.