The most famous bridges in Venice are the four bridges over the Grand Canal. These are the Ponte Rialto, the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Ponte dell’Accademia and the Ponte della Costituzione. Another well-known bridge is the Bridge of Sighs, which leads to a former prison.
Canal Grande bridges
At present there are four, but until 1854, when the Ponte dell’Accademia was built, the Ponte Rialto was the only bridge over the Grand Canal. It may seem strange that the other bridges were built so late in history, but it must be remembered that the Venetians spent their entire lives on the water and that for them the gondola was as common a means of transport as the bicycle is for the Dutch.
The Ponte Rialto is still the most famous of the four bridges across the canal and one of the most picturesque and often-photographed spots in the city. The architect’s name was Antonio da Ponte. He was preferred to the slightly more famous Michelangelo.
Ponte degli Scalzi
The Ponte degli Scalzi (“Bridge of the Barefooted”) connects the districts of Santa Croce and Cannaregio. The current version, completed in 1934, was designed by Eugenio Miozzi. Construction of this bridge became necessary when the new railway station was built (1846).
The Ponte dell’Accademia was built in 1854 and connects the districts of Dorsoduro and San Marco. The wooden bridge, also designed by Eugenio Miozzi, was replaced by the current version in 1985.
Ponte della Costituzione
The Ponte dell Costituzione (“Bridge of the Constitution”) was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The most recent one of the bridges over the Grand Canal was built between 2002 and 2008.
Other interesting Venice bridges
The most famous bridge not spanning the Grand Canal is probably the Bridge of Sighs.
Ponte dei Sospiri
The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge that connects the city’s old prison in the Palazzo Ducale with the new prison on the other side of the Rio di Palazzo canal. A walk through its interior is included in the Palazzo Ducale ticket.