Venice Gets a New Bridge Across the Grand Canal
[Regions of Italy] [Back to Venice]

Browse unique lodgings, hand-picked for you by In Italy Online



A
fter several years of construction delays, Venice finally has its first new bridge across the Grand Canal since 1934. This fourth bridge was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. In January, 2007, construction crews began driving piles for the new bridge between Piazzale Roma (where all cars and buses must stop) and Santa Lucia Railway Station (gateway to Venice proper). The bridge's prefabricated sections were floated to the construction site by barge, passing right under Ponte Rialto, as shown at right.

The new bridge is officially named Ponte della Costituzione but in classic Italian fashion, everyone ignores that and refers to it as Ponte Calatrava. A long, sweeping curve of glass and steel, it was designed to fit in with both the historic buildings on the Piazzale Roma side of the canal and the 1950s modernity of Venice's main railway station. It will also be convenient for travelers, who'll no longer have to go out of their way to cross the canal via the Ponte dei Scalzi or pay to ride the vaporetto. Lights in the floor of the bridge create an illuminated path spanning the canal, clearly visible at night. The structure will be accessible to the disabled: a cabin will be hidden in the pylons at the base of the bridge when not in use, appearing only when it is needed. The cabin, with room for two people, will travel along a track, stopping at the top of the bridge to permit enjoyment of the view.

Work on the project, with a budget of over 6 million euros, was delayed right at the start when digging revealed the ruins of a nineteenth-century railway warehouse, now removed. Finally, on the mythical night of September 11, 2008, the new bridge was opened to the public.

Browse unique lodgings, hand-picked for you by In Italy Online



[Regions of Italy] [Back to Venice]