Known as the City of Canals, Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It’s famous for its beautiful buildings, the gondolas and above all its bridges. They aren’t just a way to get from one side of the Canals to the other. The oldest bridges were engineering triumphs of their time and are still a thing of beauty today. You can’t visit Venice without also seeing its bridges, because there are so many. Find out which bridges in Venice are a must-see for any visitor.

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The City of Canals is Full of Bridges

Venice is often called the Floating City, because it consists of over hundred small man-made islands. The islands are separated by several canals that give the city it’s unique look and feel. To link these islands, people have built bridges. But how many bridges are there in Venice? There are over 400 bridges connecting the various islands.

When Venice’s citizens used horse-drawn carriages to transport goods and get around the city, the bridges were flat and made of wood. But over time, boats became the main mode of transport and as a consequence, bridges were built with arches to let boats pass underneath them. Around the same time, many bridges were also built with stone, rather than wood.

The Must-See Bridges in Venice

While many of the over four hundred bridges aren’t anything special, some embody the beauty of the city and its architecture. And it’s these bridges that every visitor exploring this stunning city should see. They are also the perfect backdrop for your holiday pictures.

Ponte Rialto

One of the most famous bridges in Venice is the Rialto Bridge. As the main crossing over the Grand Canal, it’s also one of the busiest bridges. It was built towards the end of the 16th century and only took three years to complete. For almost 300 years, it was the only bridge that crossed the Grand Canal on foot.

The Rialto Bridge is also one of the oldest bridges in Venice, although when it was first built in 1173, it was a floating bridge. It was soon replaced by a wooden bridge, which collapsed and was replaced by the stone bridge we know today.


Ponte dei Sospiri

Another famous bridge is the Bridge of Sighs, and no tourist should miss it. Built in the 17th century, it has a rather chilling history. It connected the Doge’s Palace with the prison and prisoners crossed it after they had been sentenced. Legend has it that the name comes from the sad sighs the prisoners gave out when crossing the bridge to the prison. Their sentence is likely to mean they were seeing Venice for the last time.

Despite this rather dark history, the Bridge of Sighs is seen as a romantic spot to take a picture. And many couples have kissed while passing beneath it on a gondola. This baroque-style bridge is definitely one of the must-see bridges in Venice.


Ponte dell’Accademia

Built in 1933, the Ponte dell’Accademia is another bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. The original iron bridge was supposedly built in only 37 days. 

However, the very modern style wasn’t to the Venetian’s taste, and it wasn’t a success in terms of engineering either. So it was replaced by the wooden one we see today.


Ponte de Calatrava o Ponte della Constituzione

But Venice does also have modern bridges, such as the Calatrava Bridge. Its actual name is Ponte della Costituzione, as it was built for the 60th birthday of the Italian constitution in 2008. But many know it as the Calatrava Bridge after its designer Santiago Calatrava.

This bridge has a structure made of iron with the floors and railings made of glass and stone. And while it might not have the attractiveness of some of Venice’s older bridges, it is definitely worth a visit.

Ponte della Paglia

Many tourists only visit Ponte della Paglia to take a picture of the Bridge of Sighs. 

However, it’s worth visiting in its own right. Its simplicity makes this stone bridge an attractive sight and one of the bridges of Venice worth seeing. The name translates as Straw Bridge and is so called because boats transporting straw would moor nearby.

If you want to beat the queues, make sure you book your tickets in advance.


Ponte Chiodo

Ponte Chiodo is a charming and unique bridge  known for being the only one in the city without railings. 

This picturesque footbridge, constructed in the 15th century, spans a narrow canal in the Cannaregio district. Its name, “Chiodo,” translates to “nail” in English, possibly referring to the ancient practice of nailing notices or edicts to its wooden structures. 

The bridge offers an authentic glimpse into Venice’s historic atmosphere, allowing visitors to meander through the labyrinthine streets and experience the city’s rich architectural and cultural heritage.


Ponte dei Tre Archi

The Ponte dei Tre Archi stands as a remarkable example of Venetian architecture and history. 

Unique among the city’s numerous bridges, it is distinguished by its three arches, a design feature that sets it apart from the typical single-arched structures found throughout Venice. Situated in the Cannaregio district, this striking bridge spans the Cannaregio Canal, one of the important waterways in the city. Built in the early 18th century, the Ponte dei Tre Archi is not only a functional part of Venice’s intricate canal system but also a charming attraction, offering picturesque views and a glimpse into the city’s rich past. 

Its distinctive structure and historical significance make it a beloved landmark for both residents and visitors alike, adding to the romantic ambiance of Venice.


Experience the Beauty of Venice's Bridges

Venice is one of the most beautiful and astonishing cities in Italy, if not the world. There are so many things to wonder at and discover. The most popular bridges in Venice will give you a sense of the city as you stroll across them.

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