A stroll along the enchanting bridges of Venice
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A walk through romantic canals to discover Venice’s countless bridges

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

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

The Academy Bridge connects St. Vidal’s to the former Church of Sainte Mary of Charity.

For 300 years, the Rialto Bridge had been the only crosswalk point over the Grand Canal. During the last Austrian rule of the city (1848-1866) it was felt need for two additional crossings, one at the new railway station, the other southward at the opposite end of the canal.

In 1838 architect Giuseppe Salvadori put forward several proposals, one of which called for a tunnel under the canal so as not to create problems for the passage of tree-lined boats. After an interruption due to the insurrectional uprisings of 1848 against the Austrian government, in 1852, the English engineer Alfred Neville, who had already directed the construction of 37 iron suspension bridges in Europe, proposed a bridge of a single horizontal truss with a span of 50 m.

This bridge, called the Charity Bridge, was immediately built and opened to the public, at a toll, on November 20, 1854. The name is derived from the nearby Charity complex that includes the Convent, Church of Sainte Mary of Charity and Great School of Charity. These deconsecrated and disused buildings later became home to the Venice Academy of Fine Arts and currently house the Gallery of the Academy.

Neville himself built a similar structure in front of the train station. Venetians did not well accept these structures because the markedly “industrial” style clashed with the context of the city’s architecture; their height of only 4 meters also created difficulties for the passage of boats. In any case, pedestrian traffic settled into its groove.

The bridge began to present static problems after a few years due to the weakness of some parts of the structure, and by the Fascist period, it showed worrying signs of decay and corrosion. While waiting for the construction of a new stone bridge, it was announced a national competition, later won by the design of Duilio Torres (architect) and Ottorino Bisazza (engineer). In the meantime, was temporarily built a wooden bridge designed by Eugenio Miozzi (1889-1979) in just 37 days and opened to the public on February 15, 1933. At the time of its opening, it was the largest wooden arch bridge in Europe.

However, the bridge’s wood needed continuous and costly maintenance. Between 1984 and 1986, the bridge was rebuilt based on a design by Giulio Ballio, Giuseppe Creazza, Luciano Jogna, and Giancarlo Turrini. The new structure was made of steel, relegating wood to the role of cladding, except for a few supporting elements of the staircase and deck. However, the timber used showed signs of rapid deterioration over the years. The final bridge was built on the winning design by Torres and Bisazza.

In 2009, the City of Venice issued a call for bids to restore the bridge, keeping the load-bearing metal structure and remaking the wooden part with the same material.

The choice of reconstruction was dictated by the high maintenance costs, both ordinary and extraordinary, that the wooden structure required. The restoration work was completed in 2018.


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