More info: The Grand Canal in Venice is the mainwaterway of the city and passes from San Marco Basilica to Santa Chiara Church and divides the city into two parts. The Grand Canal is just over 3 km (2 miles) long and between 30 and 70 metres (100 and 225 feet) wide and has an average depth of 5 metres (17 feet)
The Grand Canal is lined on either side by palaces, churches, hotels, and other public buildings in Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. The majority of these buildings were built between the 13th and 18th century and most open directly onto the canal, making their fronts accessible only by boat. One of the Grand Canal’s most-arresting sights is the Ca’ d’Oro, a 15th-century palace designed for Marino Contarini, of the eminent Contarini family. It was extensively renovated in the late 20th century, and has an ornate façade.
The oldest and most famous bridge crossing over the Grand Canal, is the Rialto Bridge which was designed by Antonio da Ponte in the late 16th century. The Rialto Bridge crosses the canal at roughly its halfway point. Once made of wood, it used to be a drawbridge that allowed the crossing of the canal to sailing ships, when Rialto was the ancient port of the city.
The first Sunday in September is the Regata Storica (Historical Regatta), a highlight in the Venetian calendar that features a colourful waterborne procession followed by rowing competitions. It is an event that evokes the glory of the golden days of Venice, recreating the moment the Queen of Cyprus arrived in the city in 1489.