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Wonder #21 The Grand Canal: A Journey Through Italy's Historical Waterway

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About The Wonder

The Grand Canal, Venice's principal waterway, is an iconic marvel that captivates visitors with its historical and architectural splendor. This 3.8-kilometer canal winds through the heart of Venice, offering a unique glimpse into the city's rich past and vibrant present. Stretching from the Santa Lucia railway station to the San Marco basin, the Grand Canal curves in an 'S' shape, weaving through Venice’s core and linking its most significant landmarks.

Location Map 

History Of The Wonder 

The Grand Canal, dating back to the 5th century, has been pivotal in Venice’s development. Historically vital for trade and transport, it contributed significantly to the city’s prosperity. The canal's banks are adorned with over 170 historical buildings from the 13th to 18th centuries, reflecting diverse architectural styles, including Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.

How To Get There? 

Major Airports for Travelers Visiting The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

1. Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
Location: Approximately 13 km from Venice.
Details: The primary airport serving Venice, offering numerous international and domestic flights. Travelers can take a water taxi or Alilaguna water bus to reach the city.

2. Treviso Airport (TSF)
Location: Around 31 km from Venice.
Details: A smaller airport mainly serving low-cost airlines. Buses and shuttles connect Treviso Airport to Venice.

3. Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Location: About 300 km from Venice.
Details: One of Italy’s largest airports with extensive international flights. High-speed trains connect Milan to Venice in about 2.5 hours.

4. Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
Location: Approximately 500 km from Venice.
Details: Italy’s busiest airport with global connections. High-speed trains can take travelers from Rome to Venice in around 3.5 hours.

Major Airports and Travel Options to The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

1. Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
Estimated Travel Time: 20-30 minutes.
Transportation Options:

  • Water Taxi: Direct and scenic, takes around 30 minutes.
  • Alilaguna Water Bus: Budget-friendly, takes 45-70 minutes depending on the route.

2. Treviso Airport (TSF)
Estimated Travel Time: 60-70 minutes.
Transportation Options:  

  • Bus + Train: ATVO or Barzi buses to Venezia Mestre or Venezia Santa Lucia, then a Vaporetto (water bus) to the Grand Canal.
  • Direct Shuttle: ATVO or Barzi buses offer direct services to Venice Piazzale Roma, then Vaporetto to the Grand Canal.

3. Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) 
Estimated Travel Time:
3-4 hours.
Transportation Options:  

  • Train: Malpensa Express to Milan Centrale, then high-speed train (Trenitalia or Italo) to Venezia Santa Lucia.
  • Bus: Direct bus services to Milan Centrale, then high-speed train.

4. Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO)  
Estimated Travel Time:
4-5 hours.
Transportation Options:

  • Train: Leonardo Express to Roma Termini, then high-speed train to Venezia Santa Lucia.
  • Flight: Direct flights from FCO to VCE, then water taxi or Alilaguna to the Grand Canal.

Visa Requirements 

United States citizens do not need a visa for short visits (up to 90 days) to Italy or other countries within the Schengen Area for tourism, business, or family visits. For visa information and application procedures, please refer to our "Apply for Visa" section on our website.

Here are some recommended accommodation areas in Venice:

1. San Marco:

Central location near major attractions like St. Mark's Square.

Wide range of accommodation options from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses.

Ideal for first-time visitors and those who want to be in the heart of the action.

2. Dorsoduro:

Artistic and cultural atmosphere with galleries and museums.

Quieter and more relaxed compared to San Marco.

Offers boutique hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, and stylish apartments.

3. Cannaregio:

Authentic Venetian experience away from tourist crowds.

Charming streets, local eateries, and historic sites like the Jewish Ghetto.

Accommodation options range from family-run guesthouses to boutique hotels.

4. Castello:

East of San Marco, offers a mix of residential areas and attractions.

Quieter alternative with historic palazzos and budget-friendly hotels.

5. Santa Croce:

Near the train station and Piazzale Roma, it is convenient for arrivals by train or bus.

A mix of residential neighborhoods and attractions.

The quieter atmosphere with budget hotels, guesthouses, and apartment rentals.


The official language of Italy is Italian (Italiano), spoken by most of the population. However, you'll find that many Italians, especially in tourist areas, also speak English.


The currency used is the Euro (EUR).

Best Time to visit Italy based on the seasons:

Summer (June to August):

Best For: Beach vacations, outdoor activities, and sightseeing in cities. 
Consider: Booking accommodations and attractions in advance due to high demand. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, especially in southern Italy where temperatures can soar.

Fall (September to November):

Best For: Mild weather, fewer crowds, and experiencing autumn foliage. 
Consider: Exploring Tuscany and other regions renowned for their autumn colors. Pack layers for varying temperatures and occasional rain showers.

Winter (December to February):

Best For: Avoid crowds, lower accommodation prices, and festive holiday markets. 
Consider: Visiting cities like Rome and Florence, which have indoor attractions to explore. Bring warm clothing, especially if visiting mountainous regions or northern Italy.

Spring (March to May):

Best For: Mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.
Consider: Visiting during shoulder season for fewer crowds and lower prices. Take advantage of outdoor dining and al fresco experiences.

Here's a concise guide to great souvenirs or gifts from Italy, inspired by the Grand Canal:

1. Murano Glass:

Look for glass figurines, jewelry, vases, or ornaments crafted on Murano Island.

2. Venetian Masks:

Choose from traditional Carnival masks available in various styles along the canal.

3. Gondola Model:

Purchase a miniature gondola from artisanal shops for a charming keepsake.

4. Venetian Lace:

Find delicate lace items like tablecloths or scarves in specialty shops.

5. Italian Wine and Prosecco:

Bring home a bottle of Venetian wine or Prosecco from local wine shops.

6. Venetian Paper Products:

Pick up notebooks or stationery with Venetian-inspired designs in paper shops.

7. Italian Leather Goods:

Explore leather shops for high-quality bags, wallets, or belts as luxurious souvenirs.

8. Venetian Carnival Costumes:

Miniature costumes or masks from specialty boutiques.

9. Venetian Cuisine Delights:

Artisanal pasta, traditional sweets, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar from local markets.

10. Venetian Art Prints:

Prints or paintings of Venetian landmarks from art galleries or souvenir shops.

Here are fun facts about the Grand Canal in Italy for travelers:

Iconic Waterway: The Grand Canal is the main waterway in Venice, stretching for about 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles) through the heart of the city.

Historical Lifeline: It has been Venice's major thoroughfare since the city's foundation in the 5th century, serving as a vital artery for transportation and trade.

Unique Architecture: The canal is lined with more than 170 beautiful buildings, including palaces, churches, and noble residences, showcasing the architectural grandeur of Venice.

No Bridges: Surprisingly, the Grand Canal has only four bridges crossing it: the Rialto Bridge, the Accademia Bridge, the Scalzi Bridge, and the Constitution Bridge.

Venetian Gondolas: Gondolas, traditional flat-bottomed boats propelled by a gondolier, have been navigating the canal for centuries, providing both transportation and romantic experiences for tourists.

Venice's Floating Museum: The Grand Canal is often referred to as "Venice's Main Street" and is considered a floating museum due to the wealth of historic buildings and artworks it showcases.

Cultural Heritage: In 2021, the Grand Canal was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing its outstanding universal value and cultural significance.




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