A stroll along the enchanting bridges of Venice
  • Europe /
  • Italy /
  • Venice

A walk through romantic canals to discover Venice’s countless bridges

The Bridge of the Barefooters
(by Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

(by Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

This is one of the bridges spanning the Grand Canal. It takes its name from the nearby church of Saint Mary of Nazareth, better known as the Church of the Barefoot. It is also called the “station bridge” or “railway bridge” because of its proximity to the Venice Saint Lucia railway station.

An early bridge was built in 1858 by English engineer Alfred Neville under Habsburg’s rule to improve access to the newly built railway station. It was a cast-iron bridge with a rectilinear structure, very similar to the one erected a few years earlier by Neville himself at the Academy.

The limited height (4 meters) prevented the passage of tree-lined boats, and the avowedly “industrial” style was aesthetically ill-matched to the surrounding structures. The cast iron also began after a few years to show signs of structural failure in places, so the Venice City Council was forced in the early 1930s to make a quick decision regarding its replacement.

The construction of the stone bridge in front of the Venice railway station is closely linked to those of the station itself.  The intricate situation of the project for the station, equally prolonged period of disuse of the bridge itself. Without changing the existing situation, Eugenio Miozzi then proposed a project to be built in place of the 19th-century iron bridge that stood in front of the Bridge of the Barefooters.

The metal bridge was therefore replaced by a new single-arch bridge made entirely of Istrian stone, designed by engineer Eugenio Miozzi (1889-1979). Construction began on May 4, 1932, and the bridge was opened two years later, on October 28, 1934.

Built of Istrian stone ashlars without reinforcement, the bridge was put in place using a special metal rib: so-called “systematic injuries.” The parapet, internally hollow and openable, contains piping.

Miozzi’s attention to the insertion of the new bridge into the urban context of Venice is evidenced by the engraving commissioned in 1952, in which the bridge is set in a clear eighteenth-century style.

Introduction

1. Bridge of the Nail

2. Bridge of the Spires

3. Three Arches Bridge

4. The Bridge of the Barefooters

5. Constitution Bridge

6. Bridge of Fists

7. Academy Bridge

8. Straw Bridge

9. Bridge of Sighs

10. Rialto Bridge

11. Poste Vecie

Conclusion