Discover the most famous bridges in Venice. From the striking Rialto Bridge to the Bridge of Sighs, these are the sights you shouldn’t miss.
Venice is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting cities in the world. Built on around 100 small islands in the Venice Lagoon, it is aptly nicknamed the “Floating City”.
Little surprise then that Italy’s wonder is well-known for its numerous waterways. While it may be the Floating City, it’s also known as the “City of Bridges”. The city has around 400 bridges which play a crucial role in connecting the city’s districts.
Rather than being purely functional, Venice’s bridges rank among some of the must-visit spots in the city. These are the ones you shouldn’t miss.
9 Must-See Bridges in Venice
The Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is, without a doubt, the most famous bridge in Venice. It is Venice’s oldest bridge, originally designed in 1178 as a wooden pontoon bridge.
After collapsing a few times, it was eventually redesigned and built between 1588 and 1591. For centuries the Rialto Bridge has been one of the few ways to cross the Grand Canal on foot.
The current bridge features a stunning arch design with intricate stonework and is the most instantly recognised attraction in the city.
The Rialto Bridge is one of the most photogenic locations in Venice, and while it may be a busy pedestrian crossing, you’ll still be able to get some lovely pictures.
You’ll also find several shops lining this wide bridge where you can buy souvenirs. From here, you can make your way over to the Rialto food and fish market, which is nearby.
Accademia Bridge Venice, Italy
The Accademia Bridge is one of four bridges in Venice that span the city’s main waterway, The Grand Canal. The bridge sits at the final loop of the canal and connects the districts of San Marco and Dorsoduro.
Its convenient location is great if you plan to visit the Gallerie dell’ Accademia or Santa Maria Della Salute Church from the Piazza San Marco.
While it may not be as striking as the Rialto Bridge, the Accademia Bridge offers some of the best views of the Grand Canal.
The Bridge of Sighs, Venice
While the Bridge of Sighs is relatively small compared to some other bridges in Venice, it is still an important landmark. It is an architectural masterpiece made from white limestone, and it has windows and stone bars.
The bridge crosses over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the Doge’s Palace. The bridge received its name from the prisoners who crossed it.
According to legend, while criminals made their way from Doge’s Palace to the New Prison, they would have to pass over the bridge. They would catch one last glimpse of Venice and sigh over their loss of freedom.
As one of four Venice bridges over the Grand Canal, the Scalzi Bridge is one of the most unique in the city.
Named after the nearby Chiesa degli Scalzi, it is also known as the “Church of the Barefoot Monks”.
The Scalzi Bridge has been around since 1934 and is one of Venice’s love lock bridges. Residents and visitors have decorated the bridge with thousands of love locks. It is one of the first bridges you’ll cross if you arrive by train from the Santa Lucia Station.
This bridge is not as flashy as some of Venice’s other bridges, but it is still an architectural gem that features an elegant and slender design.
Calatrava is a glass bridge in Venice, built in 2008. It is the fourth bridge that spans over the Grand Canal.
While its official name is the Constitution Bridge, most people call it the Calatrava Bridge after the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava who designed it.
This bridge is a controversial topic, as it does not immediately seem to fit in with Venice’s ancient architecture. Despite being so modern, it is a stunning architectural piece and offers impressive views over the Canal.
Ponte delle Guglie
Ponte delle Guglie, built in 1823, is one of two bridges spanning the Cannaregio Canal.
It’s also known as the “Bridge of Spires” as it is the only bridge in Venice with metal spires on its posts. It is also known for the ornate decorations, including gargoyles, on its arches.
The bridge sits at the western end of the Cannaregio Canal and is close to the central Santa Lucia Train Station and Rialto Bridge.
Ponte della Paglia
Known as the ”Straw Bridge”, Ponte della Paglia links the Castello and San Marco districts. Initially built in 1360, it was later rebuilt in the 19th century after sustaining damage.
According to local folklore, the bridge gets its name from earlier times when boats would dock nearby and transport straw to the different areas in the city.
The Straw Bridge is not too far from the Bridge of Sighs and is the perfect vantage point to get a good look at the latter.
Ponte della Liberta
The Liberty Bridge, as it is also known, connects the mainland part of Venice to the islands that form Venice’s city centre.
Its original name was Ponte Littorio, but it underwent a name change in 1933 after World War II. Famous Italian dictator Benito Mussolini opened it, and it marked the liberation of Italy from Fascism.
If you arrive in Venice by train, this is one of the first bridges you’ll cross, and it gives you a great introduction to what you can expect to see in the city.
Ponte dei Pugni
Known as the “Bridge of Fists”, Ponte dei Pugni is one of the most well-known bridges in the city, and a visit here is one of the best things to do while you’re in Venice.
According to history, at the beginning of the 17th century, the “War of Fists” broke out in Venice. Rival clans would get together in large groups to fight their enemies with their fists, hoping to plunge them into the water below them.
While its name doesn’t seem too inviting, Ponte dei Pugni is a must-see, particularly if you enjoy history.
Practical Tips for Visiting Venice’s Bridges
Here are a few things to know before visiting some of Venice’s bridges.
The most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge which dates back to the 11th century.
There are approximately 400 bridges in Venice that connect the city.
Venice Bridges: Map
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