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Venice free tours - blog
The Grand Canal, Venice's magnificent water street is also called the “Canalazzo“. This is one of the real canals of Venice and it is the most important water way of Venice. Its lenght is about 3800 meters and it splits the city in two sides, "de citra" and "de utra".
You know, Venice looks like a fish, not bad for a city on the lagoon! The Grand Canal it's like a thick dark line that creates a kind of "big S" inside the fish.
By each sideof the Grand Canal you can see many different and magnificent palazzi (from a period dated between XII and XVII century) that testify the richness and beauty of the art during the “Serenissima“ Republic.
The Grand Canal was the centre of the trades of the Republic since the Middle Age. Here ships (some were over 400 tons) used to sail by: in fact, it is right on the Grand Canal that the “Fondaci” were born. They were a sort of big warehouses and inns for merchants coming from every part of the world. One if this fondaci is: Fondaco dei Tedeschi, now houses luxury shops but..also a magnificent terrace where you can enjoy one of the best view of Venice!
There are 4 bridges crossing the Grand Canal, each built in different eras. The most recent one is the “Ponte della Costituzione” (the Constitution Bridge), known also as the “Calatrava Bridge” (from the name of the Spanish Architect who presented the project) and inaugurated on September 11th 2008. It links the Santa LuciaTrain Station with Piazzale Roma (bus station). Right after it, there is the “Ponte degli Scalzi ("Barefoot Bridge") . Proceeding towards Saint Mark's Square we find the Rialto Bridge, certainly the most famous one, once made of wood "Ponte delle monete". 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 last bridge we meet is the Accademia Bridge, still a temporary structure made out of wood. It is a very important link between Dorsoduro area (and the Accademia museum) and Saint Mark's district.
These four bridges are not the only way to cross the Canal Grande: a quite cheap gondola our public ferry - traghetto) service takes people, tourists and locals, from one side to the other.
The Grand Canal ends in Saint Mark's where the spectacular view of the basin opens wide in front of us. On the right side the Salute church and the “Punta della Dogana” (Custom Point),on the left the extraordinary view of Saint Marks’ Square, the Doge's Palace, the Basilica, and the dominating belltower, our so called “El paron de Casa”.
The Grand Canal was, and still is, the most ambitious place to live. All palaces on this water way (no pedestrian access from the Canal) were built and embellished by the most important nobles families of the City. The best way (the only one !!) to see all the palaces is by water bus: sit back, relax and enjoy the splendour passing by!
If you want more tips related to the Grand Canal your our free tour, for a local point of view! :)
Rialto Market and the lenght fish
As everyone knows, Rialto was and is still the commercial heart of our beautiful Venice. Even today in this area you can see the main markets with fresh fish and fruits and vegetables that are bearing the morning by boat. What a wonderful experience to be there early morning! The best of themselves the Rialto offers before the opening, where you can find the best bargains in action seeing the skilled tradesmen.
These markets are open all week (fish market is close on Sundays ans Mondays), always crowded first of all with Venetians...and tourists.
The fish market is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 7.30 to about 12, while that of fruits and vegetables is open from 7.30 to about 13.30.
The most fish stalls is in two buildings with a view of the Grand Canal, in the Campo del pesce (campo of the fish).
A close area, the so called Erberia, however, is the right area where you can find the fruit and vegetable market. It offers an interesting walk through colorful fresh fruits and vegetables.
These markets were built in neo-Gothic style in 1907 as a replacement of the metal roofing from the nineteenth century. The fish market has been here for almost a thousand years. Let you know that that the Republic of Venice regulated since 1173 the sale of fish with a special edict which laid down the rules for the trade. La Serenissima was particularly severe with fish vendors selling undersized fish.
Already in 1173 an edict of the Republic of Venice informed consumers on the minimum size of the fish one should buy, imposing precise and strict rules. Today at the Rialto fish market one can still see a white marble table. It indicates the minimum length allowed for the sale of fish, in particular about the catch of some species of fish in order to preserve their growth: from the 12 centimetres of the bass ( keep in mind that today they have become 25 centimetres) to the 3 for mussels (in Venice called peoci).
Good to know that already 900 years ago fishermen were questioning the legitimacy of some fishing. Why? Because the minimum length of the different species of fish can influence the destiny of the sea’s population. And this is the objective of the Decree 1967/2006, also known as the “Mediterranean Decree”.
Here our Veronica at the Rialto market during the heart and soul of Venice tour by Isola Tour. Join our Free Walk in Venice!
Free Walk in Venice
by Isola Tour association
Curious remarks in Venice: Palazzo Grimani di San Luca
This palace was built in the mid-16th century for the procurator Gerolamo Grimani by the architect Nichele Sanmicheli and completed after his death by the architect Gian Giacomo de' Grigi, known as the Bergamasco.
A legend connects these large openings to an episode rekating to a young Grimani. The young man wanted to marry a young lady of the Tiepolo family, so he asked for her hand, receiving this reply from her father:
"It shall never be said true that I gave the hand of my daughter to a desperate man that has no palace on the (Grand) Canal".
At that, young Grimani promiused that he would have built a house with windows larger that the doorway of Ca' Tiepolo, and so it was.
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Where? San Marco, fondamenta della Chiesa 4041
Vaporetto waterbus stop: 1-2-N RIALTO
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Ok, let's speak about history and words today !
Discover the typical Venetian words with us. Let's begin with CAMPO. Do you have a Venice map? Well, you'll find many campi while you're looking for the best area to stay in Venice.
You know.. Venice was founded in the fifth century by people coming from the mainland. They fled the Hun invasion from the north to take refuge in the lagoon’s marshy islands.
The center of the original community, “Venetia” , moved from island to island. Anyway from the ninth century was firmly established in its present location.
Originally, each small island was semi-autonomous. Houses were built around the edge so that each house had direct access to the water for commerce and trasportation (our watery front doors!).
The open space in the center, the campo, was used for community needs such as the graveyard, for grazing cattle, for the water cistern and wells and for the public events such as markets and festivals and in some cases also as bullfight areas.
Shops and businesses opened onto the campo. All movements from island to island were conducted by boats. Bridges linking the island communities were built centuries later. The city’s island structure created a strong sense of neighborhood identity and rivalry.
Originally, as their name implies, the campi were unpaved fields. In the eighteenth century , to protect ladies’ ankle-length gowns and elegant shoes, especially during the evening passeggiata , wide stone paths called listone were constructed across some campi. Tassini describes the passeggiata that took place on winter evenings along the paved listone on Campo Santo Stefano.
Today, Campo San Pietro in Castello district is the only campo that is still grass crossed with stone paths.
Nowadays in the Campo, those living in the neighborhood shop, go for coffee and newspapers, while Venetians living elsewhere pass through on their way to work. In this setting, persons encounter each other many times a day and brief conversations ensue. Here, even casual acquaintances become familiar figures. Public life is visible and audible to all. No part of the campo is fenced off or inaccessible, and of course, there are no cars to impede social interaction!
Interesting, right? So.. what are you waiting for? Book your free your Free Walk in Venice and learn more with Isola Tour!
Venerdì 11 novembre, ore 15:00, speciale attività in italiano.
Punto d'incontro: Campo San Barnaba (Dorsoduro)
Saremo lieti di far conoscere a grandi e piccoli una Venezia nascosta e "minore", con una particolare attenzione ai “piccoli ospiti” cercando di catturare la loro attenzione su dettagli e stranezze che questa città possiede. Per i visitatori fuori Venezia forniremo alla fine anche informazioni, se necessarie, su cosa vedere, su dove poter trovare qualche appetitoso piatto tipico veneziano (o gustare un ottimo gelato) o come poter raggiungere punti della città.
La partecipazione è libera, se l'attività sarà stata di vostri gradimento vi saremo grati se vorrete sostenere la nostra associazione con una libera donazione (dettagli su richiesta).
Per info e prenotazioni:
sms o wharsapp: 3492258189
-TWO FANCIFUL PROJECTS OF THE LATE 19TH CENTURY
Enthusiasm for the city’s industrial development and the increasing focus on its role as a tourist destination actually resulted in plans for trains to arrive directly at St. Mark’s square. This very odd idea involved the creation of a railway station on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which thus would have facilitated the flow of tourists into the very heart of Venice. In 1852, the entrepreneur Busetto, nicknamed Fisola, also defended the project of the architect Cadorin for a magnificent GRAN HOTEL THERMAL on Riva degli Schiavoni, very close to the Doge’s Palace. However, the project never got beyond the drawing-board stage.
-THE FIRST PROJECT FOR AN ACCADEMIA BRIDGE, REJECTED IN THE 19TH CENTURY
Ever since the 16th century, there had been talk of the need to build another bridge over the Gran Canal. By itself, the Rialto Bridge did not make it easy to pass from one side of the waterway to the other. The first project was, however, only presented in 1838, by the engineer Giuseppe Salvadori, head of the Pubblic Works office in Venice. This structure would have linked Santa Maria del Giglio (in the sestiere of San Marco) to the sestiere of Dorsoduro, where the Zattere was becoming one of the hubs of commercial activity within the city. However, it was ultimately the English engineer Neville, owner of the iron foundry at San Rocco and specialist in the building of steel structures, who designed the first bridge, built in 1853. This bridge remained in use until 1933, when it was replaced by the wooden structure that was subsequently replaced by the bridge that exists today.
-LE CORBUSIER’S NEW HOSPITAL: STARTED BUT NEVER COMPLETED
Le Corbuiser’s new hospital was to stand in the area of the new city abattoir of San Giobbe, yet the plan was never put into effect. In 1965, the famous Swiss architect signed the contract defining the specifications and the actual timetable of the work, but he died a few months later. The buildings were left as they stood, empty, and have only recently been refurbished to house the Economics Faculty of Ca’ Foscari University. The project plans can been seen in the library of the Scuola Grande di San Marco.
Do you like the Italian coffee "espresso"?
Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. Venetian merchants followed the sea routes that linked the far east with Venice and Naples, bringing the first bags of coffee in their city. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy. Coffeehouse soon sprang up all over the country and they become a platform for people, especially artists and students to come together and chat…then it is certain that Venice was the first place in Italy where people experienced the delicious aroma of coffee! Historical documents revealed that the ambassador in Costantinople Gianfrancesco Morosini was the first to mention the coffee in a report to the senate of Venice in 1585. Some ancient papers testify that in Venice the coffee was very expensive and considered a valuable medicine (prepared as infusion with powder of roasted coffee beans). Towards the end of the century, the infusion of coffee became so popular and required by the people, and the senate issued a special order and it procured and imported larger quantities of coffee for the city of Venice.
The first coffee shop was opened by Turkish traders in Saint Mark’s square under the Procuratie Nuove. Given the success in a short time it opened more than 200 coffee shop throughout the city. In 1720 was opened the CAFÉ’ FLORIAN , which boasted a long line of illustrious clients, such as: Giacomo Casanova, Carlo Goldoni and Lord Byron. Equally important are two other historic coffee in Saint Mark’s square: CAFFE’ QUADRI and CAFFE’ LAVENA , the first opened in 1775 and the second in 1750.
If you want to discover more about the daily life in Venice book your free tour by Isola Tour , the original Free Walk in Venice! :)
Enjoy a hot cup of coffee!
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