The Bridges of Venice Italy
Whether it is the bridge of Rialto or Bridge of Sighs Venice is also as famous for its bridges as for its gondolas, palaces and churches: with over 400 bridges in such a small area!
Originally, there were not actual bridges in Venice. At best, there were wooden footbridges without steps whose construction and maintenance was the responsibility of the neighbors. During this era, many in Venice moved about on horseback.
Then the transportation of goods and people was predominantly made by boat, the result was the beginning of true bridge construction.
Bridges were rounded and high enough so that small boats and gondolas could pass underneath. But at the same time, bridges become more arched and with steps that were not adapted to the horses. The horses were displaced and subsequently disappeared as means of transportation in the heart of Venice.
They initially had built the houses along the calli and of the channels before being concerned with bridges to join the various islands which form Venice.
You can see in Venice the consequence of this reversed order, to see bridges which seem to be “sideways”, almost "tossed” diagonally to connect two calli over the Rio.
And with good reason since these bridges were constructed "afterwards", while trying to adapt to the configuration of the existing calli.
Small, large, plump, straight or from side to side, stone, wooden and metal, metal, decorated and sculpted or even simple, the diversity of the bridges of Venice adds to the beauty of the city and to its very romantic aspect.
Besides, a great part of the city’s history can be shown there.
If they began constructing stony bridges only since the XIVth century, the bridges constructed entirely out of metal came after 1800 and are essentially bridges built by the Austrians at the time of their occupation of Venice.
Another detail of significance: the bridges of Venice originally had no parapets.
The parapets which you see were added long afterwards their building to prevent too many people from falling into the water!
This type of accident was so common that Il Gazzetinno, the newspaper of Venice, had in the past a daily chart which listed the names of people who had fallen into the water the previous day.
There is one remaining bridge in Venice without parapets, it is in the sestiere of Cannaregio and spans over the rio of S. Felice: The Bridge of Chiodo.
It is also necessary that you know that the bridges of Venice are also places of life.
If you notice, you will see that day and night, people stop on the top of bridges, to have a rest, to look at water, to smoke a cigarette, but also simply to speak to each other, as if they were better up high?
We even lived just beside a bridge in Venice and all the day and night we could note these behaviors of stopping atop the bridges. For this reason, we will share a small amusing anecdote.
Every night, at about 10 pm, a Venetian of about sixty years old came home after having obviously drunk too many glasses of ombra.
And systematically he stopped at the top of our bridge, faced the rio and ranted in loud voice for a good dozen minutes.
The echo of his voice, amplified by water and facades of houses undoubtedly delighted him. Then, extremely satisfied he went home only to begin again the next night!
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