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Wandering back and forth on the Grand Canal is one way to experience the “Invisible Cities” described in Italo Calvino’s fiction (1972). It would have been sublime if we could read it leisurely and try map the literal to the physical.

Here are more photos of the Grand Canal. We have obviously spent some time touring/commuting on a vaporetto. To see part 1 of this post, click here.

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One end of the canal starts near Piazza San Marco and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (one with the domes).

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The photo below shows one of the exits of the Grand Canal at the other end (top of the inverted “S”).

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The name “Salviati” on this building may not legible in this photo. It is a family of very successful glass makers and mosaicists who started in Murano – we will have a post about this island later. Apparently, the Salviati family constructed the building at 235 Regent Street in London which houses the Apple Store now.

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More mosaics here.

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These buildings, near Piazza San Marco, have been converted into fancy hotels, each having a private canal-side entrance.

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Guests can be picked up from Marco Polo airport and dropped off directly in front of the hotel.

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Or one can walk onto a gondola from the hotel lobby.

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Many people go to a restaurant by boat.

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Church of San Simeone Piccolo

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Venice’s palaces, churches, and buildings are supported by thousands of wooden pilings that date back hundreds of years. As long as they’re submerged, the pilings do not rot -but when they come in contact with the air when the canal is being cleaned, deterioration could begin.

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Apparently, the Grand Canal does not need much dredging because of the tides that sweep silt and sewage out to the Adriatic sea. But the narrower ones need the cleaning once every few decades otherwise the canal becomes too shallow even for gondola and a foul odor develops.

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The Grand Canal is indeed magical.

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We will come back later with photos of the boats on the canals of Venice.

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