The Grand Canal (Italian: Canal Grande) forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in Venice. Public transport is provided by water buses (Italian: vaporetti) and private water taxis, and many tourists explore the canal by gondola. At one end, the canal leads into the lagoon near the Santa Lucia railway station and the other end leads into Saint Mark Basin; in between, it makes a large reverse-S shape through the central districts(sestieri) of Venice. The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice. The noble Venetian families faced huge expenses to show off their richness in suitable palazzos; this contest reveals the citizensí pride and the deep bond with the lagoon.