Bridges in Venice
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Venice is a city of bridges. Some like the Rialto Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs are world famous. In this article you will find an overview of the bridges of Venice.
How many bridges there are in Venice?
The oldtown of Venice actually consists of many small islands that are separated by more or less wide canals. There are pedestrian bridges over these canals. In total, there are approximately 435 bridges in Venice.
So the number of bridges is enormous. But this is not a world record. For example, there are more than 1,000 bridges in Amsterdam. There are even more in Hamburg, Germany (over 2,000).
The majority of Venice's old bridges are stone bridges. There are also wooden bridges and iron bridges. Most of the 160 canals in the Centro Storcio are only a few meters wide.
Are there only pedestrian bridges in Venice?
In principle: yes. Almost all transitions are provided with steps or stairs and are therefore not suitable for vehicles of all kinds.
The only exception is the long Ponte della Liberta (Liberty Bridge). It is the longest bridge in Venice, almost 4 km long. It is also one of the new bridges of the lagoon city. It was only discovered in 1931. The Ponte della Liberta connects the old town with the mainland. It is a motorway bridge and a railway bridge (4 lanes and 4 tracks). The new tram also crosses this "Freedom Bridge"..
Bridges of Venice with baby carriage, wheelchair, bicycle and inline skates
Most of these bridges have only steps and no ramps. The bridges of Venice are therefore not suitable for the disabled. Wheelchair users cannot use them. In Venice you often have to climb stairs with a baby carriage. Riding bicycles and roller skates of any kind is even forbidden in Venice. The ship iand walking are the only means of transport in the old town.
In recent years there are some bridges with ramps in the very tourist areas such as around St. Mark's Square (San Marco). This is of course also a help for prams etc.
In the typical narrow streets of Venice there is simply no room for wheelchair ramps. Also the old cobblestone pavement is often a problem for wheelchair users, prams and elderly people.
Well-known bridges in Venice
The 4 bridges over the Canale Grande
The wide Canal Grande is by far the most important waterway in Venice. The s-shaped canal divides the old part of Venice into two parts. The Canal Grande is almost 4 kilometres long. There are only 4 bridges over the waterway. Often, one has to go a quarter of an hour or more detour. But beside the 4 bridges there are also some small ferries for pedestrians.
The oldest and most famous bridge over the Canale Grande is the Rialto Bridge. For many centuries it was the only way over the waterway. The Rialto Bridge is one of the top 10 sights of Venice. You can find more about the Rialto Bridge on this page.
The Ponte dell'Accademia is a 20th century iron bridge in the south of Venice's old town. The crossing, opened in 1854, is directly in front of the famous art museum Accademia.
At about the same time (1858) the Ponte degli Scalzi (Scalzi Bridge) was built in front of the Venice Santa Lucia main railway station. The pedestrian bridge is considered the most used bridge in Venice.
The fourth bridge over the Canal Grande Ponte della Costituzione (built in 2008) is relatively new. The constitutional bridge connects the main railway station with the central bus station of Venice, which is about 200 metres away. The Ponte della Costituzione is still extremely controversial, for critics too modern a building in the historic city.
The famous Bridge of Sighs
Hardly any other bridge in the world is so famous and so often filmed. The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is a transition between the power centre of the city (the Doge's Palace) and the neighbouring Prigioni nuove prison.
Many prisoners, among them celebrities like Casanova, had a last glimpse of freedom from the bridge before being chained in prison for years. More about the Bridge of Sighs
The Freedom Bridge
The above-mentioned Liberty Bridge (Ponte della Liberta) is the only fixed link between the mainland and Venice. There is a 4-lane railway and a motorway (4 lanes). In Venice, all motorways and tracks end in a dead-end street or station. All Venice's car parks, bus stops and train stations are close to the Freedom Bridge.
Bridges on other islands of Venice
In the modern parts of the city on the mainland and on Lido there are of course also road bridges and railway bridges. The number of bridges over 435 refers only to the old town (centro storico). The number of bridges is much higher on the whole territory of today's Venice.
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