This post was planned to be a description of the four bridges over the Grand Canal in Venice, but I discovered that The Happy Pontist has already done this, so I will just provide links to his site, some photos, and comments on points of interest.
The Ponte dell’Accadamia was originally a steel girder bridge, completed in 1854, replaced with a single span timber arch in 1948. This was further upgraded between 1963 and 1965 and in 1986. The final work is often described as further strengthening of the timber structure, but as can be clearly seen in the pictures below the structure is now a steel girder arch with timber trim, rather than a timber arch with steel strengthening:
The Ponte de Rialto is the oldest bridge over the Grand Canal, a pontoon bridge having been completed at this location in 1181, and several other bridges built and collapsed until the construction of the present bridge in 1588; this structure being one of the most recognisable bridges in the World.
It is recorded that there was considerable controversy about the choice of a single span arch for this location, some claiming that it would be likely to collapse. This seems surprising given that larger and flatter arch spans had been completed elsewhere at the time of construction, but as we shall see in a later post, this was not the last time that the stability of flat stone arch bridges would be questioned.
Quoting from the Happy Pontist:
“Today, the bridge may appear at first sight the least distinguished of the four bridges over the Grand Canal. There are, after all, roughly 300 arch bridges in Venice, most of them in stone. However, its attraction is in its simple elegance, especially its slenderness at midspan. It’s both beautiful and durable, an illustration that older technologies are often still of great value.”
and my photos (taken on a cold and showery late spring day) don’t do it justice. Nonetheless, here they are:
This, the newest of the Grand Canal Bridges (opened in 2008), escaped my attention, which is a shame since, like all bridges by Santiago Calatrava, it is a bold and eye-catching design. Follow the link above for a detailed description at the Happy Pontist blog.
Also see these links from the City of Venice site: