The Grand Tour in Venice - Page 83



THE GRAND TOUR IN VENICE
82
83
THE GRAND TOUR IN VENICE
THE GRAND
CANAL
Jumping into a gondola or boarding a
vaporetto, our tour now proceeds up the
Grand Canal (fig. 51) towards the Rialto
Bridge glancing as we go at some of the
grand marble palaces dating back from the
twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. The
Grand Canal is Venice’s main thoroughfare
and smartest residential “street”, running
parallel with the Giudecca canal and snaking
its way under the Rialto bridge towards the
Railway Station.
Lord Byron famously swam its length
starting from the Lido and subsequently fell
into it in the course of an amorous exploit.
He is one of many famous visitors who took
lodgings in the palazzi and hotels that line
the canal. The Gothic Palazzo Giustinian,
at the San Marco landing stage, housed in
the nineteenth century the celebrated Hotel
Europa whose guests included Ruskin,
Proust, Verdi, and Turner. A little further
on, with its tall chimney pots is the Palazzo
Gaggia, formerly Ca’ Giustianini, was home
of the American Katherine Bronson, who
had a famous salon frequented by Browning,
Whistler, and Henry James. The Gritti
Palace Hotel hosted Effie and John Ruskin
in 1851 while he was writing Stones of Venice.
Further down the canal is the Palazzo
Barbaro, site of another famous American
salon presided over by Isabella Stewart
Gardner in the 1890s.
Fig. 51 Bernardo Bellotto,
View of the Grand Canal:
Santa Maria della Salute
and the Dogana from
Campo Santa Maria
Zobenigo, ca. 1743, oil on
canvas, 139.1 x 236.9 cm,
Los Angeles, Getty Center.

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