Both a blessing and a curse of the Serenissima, water has given it its unique shape, has enriched it in its golden age, making it the undisputed ruler of the seas thanks to an unparalleled fleet in the Mediterranean.
Water has exalted the hard work of its inhabitants, giving it that magical and melancholic atmosphere that only visitors intent on getting lost in the colors of the sunset or facing one of its monumental bridges can tell.
Venice has always defended itself and will have to keep on defending itself from the water: the requalification of the paving, the strengthening of the coasts, the rise of the banks are actions designed and implemented to protect it from the water..
The water system in Venice
The Venetian water system is so complex that in 1501 even the office of the Magistrato alle Acque was established, to oversee the waterways of the Venetian lagoon. It winds through the old town, consisting of 118 islands connected by pedestrian bridges and separated by canals, Burano and Murano and the Lido, famous for the Film Festival.
The great Venetian canals
The main waterway is undoubtedly the Canale Grande, the largest artery in the lagoon city and a must for visitors. Over the centuries it has inspired poets, painters and musicians with unparalleled beauty and charm.
Don’t miss the walk and the panoramic visit with the boat or the vaporetto. Starting from Santa Lucia Station, you can catch sight of the Calatrava bridge, cross the Scalzi Bridge in white Istrian stone, and look out over the Rialto Bridge, the oldest and most celebrated of those that cross the Canal.
You can also admire the magnificent and imposing residences that rise up from the canal, such as Palazzo Grassi, with its splendid neoclassical façade and Ca’ Rezzonico, which today houses the Venetian Museum of the eighteenth century.
The Giudecca Canal, located between the island of the same name and the Dorsoduro sestiere, also flows into the San Marco basin. The ideal setting for this extraordinary waterway is made up of the majestic buildings of Punta della Dogana and the Basilica della Salute di Venezia, characterized by the double dome, the larger one designed with the Corona del Rosario and the smaller one serving as a sanctuary.
Get lost in the streets and rios living the magic of Venice
If you get lost in the shady calli of Venice you can see numerous rios, small waterways of the Serenissima deep no more than 2 meters. Whether you decide to explore them with a suggestive gondola ride, or walking through the narrow and seducing alleys of the center, each of them hides precious gems, often neglected by the hasty mass tourism, and embodies the authentic spirit of Venice which once was the lady of the seas.