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! :)
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.
Did you like this curiosity? Join Free Walk in Venice and our tours will help you to discover more and more !
Where? San Marco, fondamenta della Chiesa 4041
Vaporetto waterbus stop: 1-2-N RIALTO
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Do you know the colourful Island of Burano ?
"Burano is well worth a visit. This bright colored island, located a short boat ride north from Venice is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing and amusing morning or afternoon". We have a special friend, Silvia who last year decuided to start showing her Burano from the local point of view. During a a short-lenght walking tour, 45 minutes, she show uncovers breath-taking hidden corners and the secrets that "normal" visitors don't get to know. Leaving crowds of tourists at our back and get away from the hustle, to find the peaceful and enchanted Burano that only locals have knowledge of. If not for Silvia, Burano would look like bright colored buildings and an amount of lace. She takes visitors around her island explaining habits and ways of life. In and out of streets walking to her favorite corners and more traditional points of interest.
Here below her contacts info:
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!
In Venice the life of the city found in the clock an irreplaceable controller of the hundreds of activities taking place.
The Venetian Governament's decision to assign to the clock of San Geremia, alongside that of San marco (construction of which was completed in 911), that of the Frari (erected from 1361 to 1396) and that of San Francesco della Vigna (completely rebuilt, ending in 1581), the task od advising with strokes of their bells when the Maggior Consiglio, that is to say the highest political body of the Republic of Venice was going to meet was of enormous importance. Gradually the citizens (about one hundred thousand people) learnt to appreciate how handy it was to associate the division of time as tolled by the bells with the rhythm of their working day.
Do you want to learn more? Join our Magnificent northern side of Venice and Jewish Ghetto tour! :)
Venice is unique in all the world: for centuries it was one of the richest and most powerful State in Europe. Over the years its inhabitants have embellished it with magnificent buildings and splendid works of art. Famous artist, but also architects and sculptors, writers and musicians, military leaders and travellers were born and worked in Venice. Some of them you might know through the works of genius that they have left here; others travelled and created magnificent works in courts all over Europe. We want to introduce you one of the most important…but you’ll discover lots of others in the churches and amongst the calli of this magical city.
Jacopo Robusti, know as TINTORETTO, was born in 1500. He was called Tintoretto because his father was a cloth-dyer (tintore). From a very early age he had a passion for paints which he would steal and use to paint the walls of his father’s workshop. Vivacious and highly spirited, they also called him “granelo de pevere” or grain of pepper! But he was extremely good at his work, becoming one of the most famous painters in the world. He painted scenes from the Bible or stories about Venice, but always included lots of details from the everyday life of his time; the cat on a bed-warmer, a sumptuous banquet, an old lady spinning….
His daughter, Marietta, imitated him from an early age and was to become famous for her portraits of rich and important people. She was nicknamed…Tintoretta! Their house is in sestiere Cannaregio next to the ponte dei Mori.
To get to know this painter better all you have to do is wander round the churches, buildings and museums of Venice. During our free tours - Free Walk in Venice, we’ll tell you the places where his most famous paintings are: the Doge’s Palace, Gallerie dell’Accademia, San Trovaso Church, Scuola Grande di San Rocco and Madonna dell’Orto Church…go find him!
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!
Free Walk in Venice is just the first project of the Isola Tour non-profit Association, officially registered in 2014 by Venice lovers and professionals in the tourism sector as well as cultural and heritage managers.
We help our guest and supporters of our Association to know the real and hidden Venice that we love..through the original free tours of Venice!
We are friendly, greeters and passionate ambassadors of the city, and we’ll help you to discover the most amazing spots, beautiful areas faraway from the tourist ones.
We believe in fairness and our mission is to make you feel at ease during your stay.
This is why we promote only Venetian cuisine giving you the best tips about it and providing information about the best ways to transportation and to choose tickets to museum and various attractions.
We don’t believe in boredom and this is why we love interaction and exchange with our guests for a nice and relaxing walk speaking about the most curious and hidden aspects of the city.
OUR GOALS ARE:
- Supporting the promotion of tourism and sightseeing.
- The development of contacts and cooperation between people.
- Helping people to save money and time during their stay
Do you want to know people coming from different parts of the world, discovering the real hidden Venice? Wear your best smile and join FREE WALK IN VENICE, our Venice free tour ! - English activities Everyday - italiano su richiesta per gruppi - www.freewalkinvenice.org
Soon we'll give you more info about new proposals for you.
So far.. just try to guess what Free Walk in Venice by Isola Tour is organising for you!
Well, we can start telling you about a hidden gem in Venice: Scala Contarini del Bovolo
In the history of cinema, since the beginning Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some are real masterpiece in the history of cinema.
For exemple, in 1949 the English director Orson Welles began filming a famous literary classic: Othello by William Shakespeare, whose first act was set in Venice.
A lack of funds was the first one between the many problems this movie had. Anyway, above all, the bad character of Orson Welles who even went as far as forcing five lead actresses in the role of Desdemona (the unhappy wife killed by Otello's, who was mad with jealousy) to abandon the set.
Because of the continuing delays, many scenes, which were supposed to be shot in Morocco, had to be shot in our Venice and therefore only saw the light in 1952.
As you know Shakespeare set the final act of the tragedy in Cyprus that was a Venetian colony and yet in the film we can see the Doge's Palace gate... but in the movie we can see also the famous Contarini spiral staircase of the Palazzo in San Luca, called Contarini del Bovolo ( in Venetian means spiral or snail).
This incredible staricase, dated 1499, was recently (this year) reopened to the public and you can climb the stairs; the view is absolutely worth the cost of the ticket (just 5 euro).
Venice is a real film location in the open air. In addition to Orson Wells' Othello many films or scenes that remain immortal in the history of cinema were shot... do you want to learn more? Stay tuned!