It’s famous for its masks, zigzagging streets, stunning architecture, and – most of all – for its canals. Of course, I’m talking about Venice, otherwise known as the City of Water. Over the centuries, countless artists and writers have expressed their amazement upon beholding the time warp that is this miraculous metropolis. Even the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who was notoriously pessimistic about everything, had nothing but high praises for the city’s beauty, once stating that it is “another word for ‘music’”. |
While everyone should experience Venice’s romantic appeal, I’ve found that there are good and outstanding ways of doing so. Although you’re sure to stumble upon something that catches your fancy when you walk around the city, I recommend getting a clear sense of Venice’s history and attractions before wandering off on your own. Luckily, you can take part in a small group tour that’ll accomplish just that: a gondola ride on the Grand Canal.
Let’s talk about what this fantastic outing has in store for you – and why it’s the perfect start to any Venetian getaway.
Meet the Grand Canal
A reputable small group tour on the Grand Canal will first introduce you to this historic waterway. While you probably knew that the canal was big, I bet you didn’t know just how big: it’s an impressive two and a half miles long, sixteen feet deep and up to three hundred feet wide.
Astonishing, right? It gets crazier. The canal has been around since the Roman Age, which is when it first developed into a hustling and bustling trading route. While millennia may have come and gone, its importance has not dwindled: today, its waters are still home to 60% of Venice’s traffic.
You may have learned something new already, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! There’s so much more to learn on a guided gondola ride, which will enable you to gain a new perspective on – and fully appreciate – this glistening waterway.
See the Famous Sights
Opting for a Grand Canal tour upon arriving in Venice is the best way to get an overview of the city’s attractions and to learn about their tumultuous back stories.
There are roughly 170 buildings that lie along the Grand Canal (some of which are more than 800 years old), along with several bridges, palaces and churches. After hearing more about the area’s celebrated attractions, such as Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge, you’ll be able to get a better sense of which sights you’d like to prioritise, which is especially helpful on a shorter holiday.
If you think that a small group tour will only convey dense facts and figures, you couldn’t be more wrong. While you’ll surely get a good historical overview, most guides love nothing more than spreading the city’s gossip. From hearing the fun – and sometimes scandalous – stories about famous celebrities to seeing the filming locations of blockbusters like Casino Royale, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Venice may be full of secrets... but you’re sure to suss them out.
An outing on the Grand Canal strikes an excellent balance between informative and fun. Why not find out for yourself on a small group tour?
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing a small group tour or experience for every taste, from guided visits to view the masterpieces of the great art galleries to unforgettable Italian cookery and art classes.
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