10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice

Due to its shape, Venice has 435 bridges between public and private, which connect the 118 islands on which it is built, crossing 176 canals.


Most of them are made of stone. Other common materials are wood and iron.

Initially, the Venetian bridges were built of wood and without steps to allow the passage on the bridges of horses, which were used as a means of transport.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice

Subsequently, the bridges began to be built in an arch shape, in stones and bricks and with steps.


The first bridge (Ponte in Italian) built in stone was near the Church of San Zaccaria, created by the Doge Pietro Sardonico.

It was built using the Istrian stone, still used today for large city buildings.


Two are the bridges of Venice that do not have bands and protective parapets.

One is the famous Ponte del Diavolo in Torcello island and the other one is the Ponte del Chiodo visible in Rio di San Felice near the Scuola Grande della Misericordia.


10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice

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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


1. Ponte della Costituzione:


​The Ponte della Costituzione is the fourth bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and was moved into place in 2007 amid protests by politicians and the general public.


The bridge was installed in 2008 and opened to the public on September 11, 2008.

 

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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


2. Ponte dei Pugni:


One of the paintings of Joseph Heintz, the Younger, represents the popular fun in Venice – battagliole sui ponti – an annual competition between the inhabitants of the eastern and western sestiere (sestiere means district).


Near Campo San Barnaba, it takes its name from an ancient custom in Venice, fistfights that used to take place on many bridges in Venice.



On this bridge, two neighbourhoods would fight at the top of the bridge. The purpose was to throw the opposite fighter into the canal below. The team that managed to keep more men on the bridge would have won.


These battles became too violent, so they were banned by the Venetian government in 1705.

The bridge still has four white footmarks indicating the starting line for the fighters.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


3. Ponte della Paglia:


The current structure dates from 1847, and the original system was built in 1360. The original design was the oldest stone bridge in Venice. The name of the bridge is understood to come from boats mooring nearby to offload straw.


It is where almost every single visitor in Venice pauses to get a view of the iconic and legendary Bridge of Sighs.


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice

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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


4. The Ponte degli Scalzi:


It is one of only four bridges in Venice, to span the Grand Canal. The Bridge connects the sestieri of Santa Croce and Cannaregio.


On the north side, Cannaregio, are the Chiesa degli Scalzi and the Santa Lucia railway station. The south side is the sestiere of Santa Croce.


'Scalzi' means 'barefoot', and relates to an order of barefoot monks who lived at the nearby Church of Santa Maria de Nazareth, sometimes referred to as the Chiesa degli Scalzi. However, the bridge was built when the monks were no longer living there.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


5. Ponte delle Guglie:


The Ponte delle Guglie is one of two bridges in Venice to span the Cannaregio Canal. It lies near the western end of the canal, by the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station. An earlier wooden bridge was built in 1285. It was replaced by the current stone and brick bridge in 1580.


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


6 Ponte dell'Accademia:


The Accademia bridge crosses the Grand Canal towards its lower, southern end, linking the San Marco district with the Accademia Gallery in Dorsoduro. It offers two of the best views in Venice, looking along the Grand Canal in each direction.


On one side lies the dome of Santa Maria della Salute, and on the other, it takes the canal towards the Rialto Bridge.



In a city made mostly of stone architecture, it is pretty surprising to come across a large, plain wooden bridge (another connects Venice to the residential island of San Pietro in Castello).


You are going to meet many tourists on this bridge. And a few illegal street salesmen blocking the way with dodgy handbags (I told you so don't hope they are real), this bridge still has much more atmosphere than the other bridges over the Grand Canal, and it is easier to find a peaceful moment here. Greg Wise proposed to Emma Thompson on the Accademia bridge, so it is worth a visit for the view.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice

7. Ponte di Rialto:


The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges crossing the Grand Canal in Venice. Connecting the sestieri of San Marco and San Polo, it has been rebuilt several times since its first construction as a pontoon bridge in 1173.


It is now a significant tourist attraction in the city. The Rialto bridge, with a wide arch of 28 meters, 22 meters wide and high above the average tide line of 7.5 meters, crosses the Grand Canal and remains the king of all Venetian bridges. This Bridge summarizes in its ancient name all the glorious history of the life of commercial and maritime Venice.


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


8. Ponte dei Sospiri:


The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace.


Between legends and beliefs, the Bridge of Sighs is one of the most visited places in Venice, one of those must see that at least once in a lifetime should be visited.

Perhaps the most famous bridge in Venice, honoured worldwide, is built in Istrian stone.


ponte dei sospiri

The Ponte dei Sospiri is visible on both sides but can only be seen from two other bridges, the Ponte della Paglia and the Ponte della Canonica.


The only way to walk through it is to visit Palazzo del Doge and the prisons and trust me that it is worth it, so book your ticket in advance here and save money.

 

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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice


9. Ponte dei Tre Archi:


The Ponte dei Tre Archi is one of the main bridges of Venice, along with the Ponte delle Guglie, the other bridge spanning the Cannaregio Canal, and the four bridges spanning the Canal Grande: Rialto, Scalzi, Accademia, and the Costituzione.


It is a perfect spot where to relax after all the walking. It is usually not crowded, and there are many excellent bars and restaurants nearby where you can have a break and relax.


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 10 Most Famous Bridges in Venice

10. Il Ponte del Diavolo:


In Torcello island, there is a bridge, called Il Ponte del Diavolo (The Devil's bridge).

Some say that Diavoli was the nickname of a local family. But some tell a legend, which has its protagonists, a witch, a young Austrian man, a young girl and the devil himself.

Legend says that during the Austrian invasion, a Venetian girl fell in love with an army officer. Their union was not well seen by her family, who did everything to prevent their love story from continuing.


The girl was removed from Venice until she received the news that her young lover had been murdered by an unknown hand.

In desperation, she stopped eating and abandoned herself to death when a family friend advised her to go to a witch she knew.

The witch met the young woman and entered into a pact with the devil: the souls of 7 Christian children who died prematurely in exchange for the young Austrian.

The place agreed for the meeting is the Torcello bridge.

The two women reached the island by boat, and once they got off on the right side of the Devil's bridge, the witch gave a lit candle to the girl and a gold coin.


It was her turn.

The girl crossed the Bridge. The witch invoked the demon who spat out the key of space and time in the water, taking the gold coin in exchange as soon as he saw the girl. At that moment, on the other side of the Bridge, the young Austrian appeared, the girl joined him and blew out the candle.

The darkness showed them the way to a happy life. The witch still had to pay her debt and agreed with the demon to deliver the souls: December 24 was the agreed day.

Upon returning home, however, the witch was killed by a young man who had witnessed the scene and wanted to save these poor children's souls.


The devil came to the appointment without knowing the fate that had befallen the witch. So, from that day, every year on December 24, the devil shows up at the Devil's Bridge in Torcello to collect his payment, in the form of a black cat.


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