The S-shaped channel is the main artery of the lagoon city. At the Grand Canal you will find the most beautiful palaces and bridges of the city. The Grand Canal is everything Venice is about. Just take a waterbus and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
After the wooden bridges over the Grand Canal had to be constantly renewed, the city decided to build a solid stone bridge. In 1591 the "Ponte di Rialto" was completed. The decisive factor for the design was the shopping arcades on the bridge, that bring money to the city treasury and the column-free passage along the canal.
The space created by filling up of a channel in 1155. Today "St. Mark's Square" is the most prominent square in Venice. The most famous buildings are located around the Piazza di San Marco, like the Cathedral and the Campanile.
The "Doge" was the elected head of the city-state of Venice. The "Doge's Palace" was his seat of government. The fabulous Palazzo Ducale was built between the 14th and 17th centuries. The palace was destroyed in 1577 by a fire and rebuilt shortly afterwards.
The St. Mark's cathedral was built between 1063-1094, after the predecessor building was destroyed by a fire. The Byzantine church was also built thanks to the close trade relationship with Byzantium. Saint Mark was the founder of the Coptic Church and Bishop of Alexandria. His symbol is the winged lion, which Venice has adopted as a symbol of the city. In St. Mark's Basilica the bones of St. Mark are stored.
The construction of the "Campanile" on St. Mark's Square was begun in 888. The top of the tower was completed in 1517. The "Campanile of Venice" was often copied in Veneto and became the symbol of the city. In 1902 the tower collapsed and one decided to rebuild it immediately. In 1912 the works were completed and the "Campanile" was again the pride of Venice.
The clock tower is the northern end of Piazza San Marco. The "Torre dell'Orologio" was erected in 1499. The two wings buildings were built next to the tower in 1755. On the façade is an astronomical clock, which shows the moon and sun phases. Above the façade is a relief of the winged lion, Venice's city icon. Two figures stand on top, to beat the tower bell.
The "Doge's palace" was also the court of Venice and condemned prisoners were taken over the bridge directly to their prison cells or were executed right after the trial. The "sigh bridge" Ponte dei Sospiri was erected in 1602, it spanns over the 8 m wide Rio di Palazzo canal.
The unusually lavishly decorated church of San Moise owes its façade to the generous donation of the rich patrician Vincenzo Fini, who payed for the rebuilding of the church after the fire of 1632. He and his family have been immortalized in the façade by the architect Alessandro Tremignon.
The famous opera of Venice burned down in 1774 and was rebuilt in 1792 under the name "La Fenice" (the phoenix). In 1996, the opera was intentionally lit and completely destroyed. The phoenix was reconstructed in 2003 according to historical photos.
The Basilica of Saint John and Paul was built in the 13th century after the Doge Jacopo Tiepolo had a vision of God, in which God chose this place for a church. The Iglesia Santi Giovanni e Paolo of the Dominican Order was inaugurated in 1430.
The Doge Contarini initiated the construction of the church of "Santa Maria della Salute" in 1630, with a request to the Virgin Mary to end the plague. The church was designed by Baldassare Longhena and was completed in 1687. The mighty dome of the white marble-clad church at the "Grand Canal" rises on an octagonal ground plan. On the southern side is another dome and two belltowers.
San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island that can be seen from St. Mark's Square. On the island is the church San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by the famous architect Andrea Palladio in 1565.
Murano is known for its glassblowers. To minimize the risk of a fire in Venice, all glass factories were relocated in the Middle Ages to this island. Murano is also a place worth a visitg and compared to Venice a quiet town with view tourists. Don't miss the Murano Glass Museum.
Since 1895 the International Art Exhibition "Biennale" takes place in Venice every two years. Many countries have built their own pavilions on the Expo site. In even years, the Architecture Biennale takes place. The Venice Film Festival is also part of the "Biennale".