Venice is one of the easiest cities on Earth to explore on foot - which is just as well, because let's face it, with no cars allowed you really don’t have a choice! A well-organised small group Venice walking tour will take you past many of the city's most iconic landmarks, including some of the beautiful bridges that span the canals at various points. |
The following are some of the best-known bridges in the city, some of which you will see on a Venice walking tour and some of which you may have to discover on your own…
The Bridge of Sighs
The whimsically named Ponte dei Sospiri is the most famous of all the city's bridges. Lovers come to steal a kiss beneath this diminutive covered footbridge in what's gained renown as one of the most romantic places in the city (and there are plenty of those). In fact, the origins of the Ponte dei Sospiri are rather less savoury than one might imagine; it originally served as the walkway between the Doge's Palace and the prison, and it was here that many condemned prisoners got their last look at the city (and life) before they were executed.
The Rialto Bridge
As one of four that cross the Grand Canal, the image of the Rialto Bridge is the one most visitors associate with the city. While you'll certainly encounter it on a Venice walking tour, it's worthwhile returning at your leisure to browse the many little shops that line its length. You can wander along the wide central walkway or move to the outer balustrades for a little respite from the constant crowds. Its graceful arched form was designed for safe and easy passage of the galleys (rowing vessels) that traversed the canals in the 16th century when it was constructed. Perhaps the best way to experience the charm of the Rialto is to claim a patch of sun on the edge of the canal for a bit of quiet contemplation from afar.
The Academy Bridge
The Ponte dell'Accademia is so named because it crosses the Grand Canal at the point that connects to the esteemed Accademia Museum. While certainly elegant, the current bridge is actually a replacement of the original, and only dates back to 1985. The bridge is unusual in that its high arch is constructed from wood, a design that was based on the previous incarnation. Aside from accessing the museum, the Ponte dell'Accademia offers some of the best views you'll find in the city, in whichever direction you look.
The Scalzi Bridge
Perhaps laying claim to the most intriguing name, Ponte degli Scalzi translates to "the bridge of the barefoot", and was owned by the Carmelite Scalzi order of monks for more than 300 years. Also spanning the Grand Canal, it connects two of the most popular districts in the city, Santa Croce and Cannaregio, and is a busy junction for water traffic, with vaporetti, gondolas and water taxis constantly arriving and departing. It also offers some incredibly attractive photographic opportunities, with its aspect facing on to the beautiful Santa Maria di Nazareth church, also known as Chiesa degli Scalzi.
Explore La Serenissima On Foot
These are just a few of the many bridges you'll encounter while exploring this enchanting city. Join an organised Venice walking tour to orientate yourself on the lay of the land, but once you have your bearings, the best advice is simply to lose yourself in the loveliness…
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts so her exceptional small group Venice walking tour guarantees an unforgettable experience.
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