The most famous bridges in Venice
In Italy there is an unknown omen – for the marriage to be strong and happy, the newlyweds must cross seven bridges. Newlyweds in Venice in this case can be envied – there are more than 400 bridges connecting islands and islands of which this charming and incredibly romantic city is composed. The bridges of Venice are unique and inimitable, each with its own story – mysterious, sad or romantic…
The Rialto is the very first bridge of Venice, connecting the banks of the Grand Canal.
Its history began in 1181, when under the direction of engineer Nicolo Baratieri a pontoon bridge was built, called Ponte della Moneta after the nearby Mint.
One hundred years later, due to the development of the Rialto market on the eastern bank of the canal and the consequent increase in the load on the bridge, it became necessary to replace the pontoon bridge with a stronger and more reliable crossing.
Rialto – the very first bridge in Venice to span the Grand Canal
By the middle of the 13th century a new drawbridge had been built over the Grand Canal. It was designed in the form of an arch, the central part of which parted to let the ships pass. This bridge over time became known as the Rialto Bridge.
The wooden structure had been destroyed several times – first by fire, then by too many people crowding the bridge to watch the regatta.
Of course, the bridge was rebuilt over and over again, until it was decided that wood was not the most suitable material. In the middle of XVI century Venice authorities announced a design competition, the winner of which was Antonio de Ponte. The stone Rialto Bridge – beautiful and reliable symbol of Venice – serves people even today.
The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs is a small but very picturesque bridge of Venice connecting the two buildings – the prison and the Doge’s Palace, separated by the Palazzo Canal. The Rio di Palazio, better known as the Bridge of the Sighs, was built in 1602 by the architect Antonio Conti.
The rather massive stone bridge with its walls and roof is decorated with decorative elements of marble, giving the structure a certain elegance.
Bridge of Sighs, Venice
Convicts walked across this bridge in medieval times, sighing at the sight of Venetian beauty, which they may have seen for the last time – few returned from prisons in those days. One such returnee was the famous Giacomo Casanova, the only man to have escaped from prison.
Another legend has recently appeared in Venice, associated with the Bridge of Sighs. It is said that if lovers pass under the bridge in a gondola and kiss, their feelings will be eternal and will survive any hardship. But be sure to kiss at sunset!
Scalzi is one of four bridges on the Grand Canal. The bridge, which connects Cannaregio and Santa Croce, was built in 1856 and, like many bridges in Venice, was criticized almost immediately for its small size, which prevented the passage of large ships under it.
Venetians didn’t like the architectural appearance of the bridge, which, in their opinion, didn’t fit in with the historic image of the city.
In 1934 the Scalzi Bridge was reconstructed and the iron structure in industrial style was replaced by a graceful arch bridge made of stone. The author of the project was the architect Eugenio Mozzi: he managed to make the massive stone structure very light and elegant – the thickness of the upper part of the bridge does not exceed 80 centimeters thanks to a special masonry system.
The Scalzi Bridge is located near the train station
The name of the bridge translates as “barefoot bridge”. According to one version, the name is related to the church of the barefoot Carmelite monks, located nearby – on the bank of the Grand Canal. According to another, it refers to the beggars, a large number of whom lived in the area of the bridge and walked on it barefoot.
Scalzi Bridge is very conveniently located in the vicinity of the main transport hubs of Venice – the train station of Santa Lucia and the bus station in Piazzale Roma.
Bridge of the Academy
The Accademia Bridge connects the banks of the Grand Canal in the part of the city where the Accademia Gallery is located, famous for its magnificent collection of Venetian paintings, including works by famous masters – Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese.
The construction of the bridge was planned back in 1488, but because of the complexity of construction and lack of funding, it was not built until 1854. Architect Alfred Neville chose metal as the main material, which most townspeople felt was too modern for this area of Venice.
In 1933 the iron structure was replaced by a wooden bridge designed by Eugenio Mozzi, the architect who also designed the Scalzi Bridge. Later there were plans to replace the wooden bridge with a stone bridge, but these plans were never carried out.
Academy Bridge is a pedestrian bridge and is 48 meters long
In 1985 the worn-out wooden structure was replaced by a new one, also made of wood. The new bridge was an exact copy of the previous one. From the top of the bridge of the Academy there are magnificent views of the city and the surrounding sights.
Venetian lovers hang locks on the handrails of the bridge, symbolizing the strength of feelings – the city authorities are trying to combat this tradition, but the locks appear again and again on the bridges of Venice.
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Photos by: Raging Wire, BillH-GSACC, Richardjo53, Waqqas Akhtar, Son of Groucho.
Top 10: Italy’s most beautiful bridges
We have prepared our selection of the most beautiful and unusual bridges in Italy, each of which at least once in your life is worth a walk, taking the hand of your loved one.
10. THE BRIDGE OF TIBERIA. RIMINI
One of the oldest bridges on the territory of modern Italy, was erected back in the twenties of our era. Of course, the construction can not boast with unusual decoration, but in terms of engineering, the bridge is unique: just imagine how much it has gone through in its nearly 2,000-year history.
By the way, during the Second World War the Germans drove military guns on the bridge, but even this has not damaged the construction, in short, the bridge of Tiberius – not only one of the oldest, but also one of the most durable bridges in Italy.
9. THE BRIDGE OF THE EXTERIOR. VENICE
The romantic name of the bridge actually conceals an ominous meaning. Though there is a beautiful legend in Venice that the Bridge of Sighs got its name because Casanova’s followers made love in gondolas under its shadow in the olden times, in fact, it was not so.
The bridge connects the Doge’s Palace with the local prison, and it was not the lovers who sighed sadly, but the convicts who crossed the bridge to their prison cells and cast their last sorrowful glances at the beautiful Venice. Nevertheless, today the Bridge of Sighs built in 1602 by Antonio Conti is a beautiful example of baroque architecture.
8. THE DEVIL’S BRIDGE. CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI
The massive bridge is built on the steep banks of the turbulent Natisone River; wide and strong, it is like a silent guardian overhanging the perpetually troubled water.
Legend has it that the mighty stone bridge was built by Lucifer himself, to whom the inhabitants of Cividale del Friù promised in exchange for the construction of the structure the soul of the first person to ascend the bridge.
Picture: general view of the Devil’s Bridge
When the bridge was built, however, an animal was released on it and as a result, the Devil was left with nothing.
7. PONTE VECCHIO. BASSANO DEL GRAPPA
A small town in Northern Italy, Bassano del Grappa is famous not only for producing grappa, cultivating white asparagus and creating amazingly beautiful pottery, but also for its bridge, named Ponte vecchio, which means: “the old bridge.”
The bridge is half wooden and half stone, with wooden supports, roof and decorative elements of the structure. Another nice thing is that in the evenings Ponte vecchio is the main hangout spot of the town.
Pictured: View from Ponte Vecchio, Bassano del Grappa
On both sides of the bridge are small bars where Bassano residents buy spritz and the local aperitif “mezzo e mezzo,” consisting of 50% red liquor and another 50% herbal liquor and then diluted with water. Drinking on the bridge is not forbidden but rather welcomed, which is why young people hang out here for hours, admiring the captivating views from Ponte vecchio.
6. GAIOLA BRIDGE IN THE GULF OF NEOPOLITANO
Gaiola are two small islands that are rocks protruding from the waters of the Gulf of Neopalitania. They are connected by an unusual suspended stone bridge, which is held in the air, seemingly in defiance of the laws of physics.
On one island is a villa, the other is uninhabited. However, the villa has also been deserted for many years, as the locals are convinced that a curse hangs over it: all the owners of the villa or died a horrible death, or went bankrupt, or went mad. Although the bridge is considered a strong structure, only the most desperate travelers dare to walk across it.
5. THE BRIDGE OF THE ACADÉMIE. VENICE
The only wooden bridge in Venice created by architect Miocci in 1934 was not initially appreciated by the citizens. It was considered too modern and not appropriate to the image of the city on the water.
However, the bridge of the Academy was conceived as a temporary solution, it was built to replace the steel bridge, and Venetians sincerely believed that soon the unusual wooden construction would be replaced by the familiar stone bridge. But as the years passed, people got used to the bridge, and now the Ponte dell’Accademia is another symbol of the city. The only thing is that the wooden structure spanning the Grand Canal can hardly withstand the crowds of tourists (especially during carnival).
In 1985, the first bridge of the Accademia has already been demolished and replaced by a new one, though, looked like his predecessor, and now the Venice authorities are seriously thinking about another reconstruction of the structure.
4. PONTE PIETRA. VERONA .
A stone arch bridge, built in the first century B.C. by Roman architects and bearing the name of Marmoreus in antiquity.
Ponte Pietra offers one of the best views of the turbulent Adige River, the hills and villas of Verona, and the bridge itself looks very cinematic in the photographs. In 1945 during the retreat of the German army Ponte Pietra was completely destroyed, but after the war it was restored.
Nowadays, tourists like to take pictures on the bridge and kissing couples, resembling Romeo and Juliet.
3. PONTE VECCHIO. FLORENCE
Ponte Vecchio, that is “old bridge, in this case a hundred percent telling name. The oldest bridge of Florence, it was built in 1345 by the architect Neri di Fioravanti.
The houses built on the bridge were originally butchers’ shops, but for more than five centuries, the butchers were survived by the jewelers. Nowadays in the stores of Ponte Vecchio one can find not the works of jewelry, but the gold trimmings of tourist orientation, but the external appearance of the bridge is worthy of everyone’s attention. However, it is better to admire Ponte Vecchio from the shore, on the bridge itself there is always pandemonium.
2. THE RIALTO BRIDGE. VENICE
The Rialto is not even a bridge, it’s as much a symbol of Venice as the horses on the Cathedral of San Marco, the Doge’s Palace and the ferocious winged lion. The bridge in the form of an arch, made of white stone, was built in the sixteenth century by the architect Antonio de Ponte (by the way, his name in Italian means “bridge”) and came down to this day in exactly the same form.
On the Rialto, as in the times of the gallant century there are shops open selling everything in the world, and near the bridge – bars, where locals like to drop in to have a glass of spritz during the evening aperitif.
Rialto Bridge is mentioned in Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice” and appears in Casanova’s memoirs. The greatest Venetian adventurer wrote that noble gentlemen liked to come to the market near the Rialto in the morning to show by their shabby appearance how boisterous and indecent they had spent the previous night.
1. SAINT ANGEL’S BRIDGE. ROME
Built in 139 AD by the Roman Emperor Adrian the bridge over the Tiber River became famous in the fifteenth century after an unfortunate accident: the structure could not withstand the crowds of pilgrims heading to St. Peter’s Cathedral and the bridge railings collapsed.
After that, the triumphal arch was removed from the bridge, and its railing was decorated with statues of angels, who today silently look at the tourists who came to the eternal city. By the way, the idea of decorating the bridge with the statues from Rome was adopted by the architects of Prague.
This place has a double reputation: on the one hand it used to be the place of execution of criminals, on the other hand it is so beautiful that after stepping on it one moment forgets about the sad past of this place.
The only thing that can spoil the impression are the black immigrants selling here fake Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags, but if you focus not on them but on the angel sculptures the bridge Sant’Angelo can be rightly called the most beautiful in Italy.