The Grand Canal, in Italian Canal grande or in Venetian, Canalasso is the main water corridor of Venice being 4 kilometers long and ranging from 30 to 90 meters in width. It divides the city into two parts and has an average depth of five meters.
The canal follows its course from San Marco Basilica to Santa Chiara Church and it goes along a myriad of historical buildings (over 17o), some of which date back to the 13th century up until the 18th century and their are built in different styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Romanesque, making the journey along the canal a true eye-candy, especially for those interested in historical architecture.
Four bridges cross the canals, with the oldest and most popular being the Rialto Bridge. The three other bridges are Accademia Bridge, Scalzi Bridge and the Calatrava bridge.
Travelling on the canal can be quite expensive but it is a must during your trip in Venice. Gondolas are the most famous way to discover the canal over its waters, but the option of a water bus, called vaporetto and water taxis is also available for a much lower price.
Some people believe that the grand Canal follows the course of an ancient river used for trade before the Roman era and that back then, the canal was much wider and it was surrounded by islands connected by bridges made out of wood.
Every year, the Regata Storica is held along the canal. It is a competition where boats race on the canal while thousands of spectators enjoy the show from the banks of the canal held on the first Sunday of September.
The usual place to take a gondola is at the Grand Canal. However, to avoid big crowds, you can head to the back canals.