El Canalasso, the Venice motorway ... the main waterway of the city, as well as the largest (about 3,800 meters, with a width ranging from 30 to 70 meters and a depth of 5!).
Thus the Grand Canal, in its inverted "S" shape, presents itself to anyone who navigates it: majestic, proud and luxuriant with authentic jewels that overlook its banks.
It is here, even if only for a part of it, that the centuries-old tradition of the Regata Storica is revived every year. At night, however, with its sparkling lights and sinuous sways, the atmosphere becomes nothing short of mystical.
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It practically cuts the city in two, starting from the Ponte della Libertà to the San Marco basin.
The main means of water connection, the Grand Canal is the preferred way to move from Piazzale Roma or the train station, towards San Marco and then towards Sant'Elena and the Lido of Venice.
It crosses the main bridges of Venice: Ponte della Costituzione (more commonly called "di Calatrava"), Ponte degli Scalzi (the only connection between Piazzale Roma and the train station, before the Constitution Bridge), Rialto Bridge (the oldest in all) and Ponte dell'Accademia (characteristic for its completely wooden structure).
During this route it bathes five of the six districts, collects 45 minor canals and is dominated by seven bridges (four pedestrian, two automobile and one railway). The most recent of these is the Ponte della Costituzione, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava to connect the square of the "Santa Lucia" railway station with Piazzale Roma, the terminus of the car lines of the Venice Transport Consortium. The city was born around it, it was the vital center of the trade of the Serenissima throughout the medieval period, the Grand Canal was also the most coveted seat of the representative palaces of the patrician families, the place to enhance one's wealth; a real place of honor and prestige in which to stand out.
At least 170 of these residences can still today tell a thousand years of splendor of the Republic, in the history of the families who lived there and in the evolution of the architecture, always and in any case influenced by an exquisitely Venetian taste. It is also thanks to this "challenge" to the most beautiful palace that Venice has embodied in the Grand Canal the pride of its identity and the deep bond with water, a natural element of the Venetians in the city and in the open sea, and the lagoon. There are also some churches, schools and fields, but only a few to walk along it.
The peculiarity is that almost all the houses emerge directly from the canal, without support sidewalks: only by navigating them can you contemplate without interruptions the serene succession of buildings illuminated by the reflections of the water, isolated from the flows of people on foot and often "decorated" by artistic mooring poles. If navigated in the evening and even more so at night, with its reflections of the lights and lights inside the windows of the buildings, the good Grand Canal offers a magical, enchanted, romantic environment, unrelated to time and eras: an essential part of the magic that has made Venice one of the most unique and loved cities in the world.