In a city proud of its deep cultural history, there is rarely anything "new" in Venice. But in late July 2007, two barges made their way down the Grand Canal carrying sections of a new bridge to be erected over the Grand Canal between Piazzale Roma, the car and bus terminal, and the Santa Lucia railway station.
It’s been over 70 years since Venice has seen a new bridge over the Grand Canal, and the new glass and steel bridge, temporarily nicknamed the ‘Calatrava’, after its architect Santiago Calatrava, is a much-needed addition to the city.
The Calatrava, only the fourth bridge to span the Grand Canal, faced much opposition to its construction. Some wereopposed to the possibility that this modern bridge would change the landscape of Venice while others were concerned about the lack of disabled access on the bridge. It also went over budget starting at 3.8 million Euros and finally costing over 10 million Euros.
The ‘Calatrava’ bridge over the Grand Canal, spans 266 feet (81 meters), and at its midpoint, it is 30 feet (9.28 meters) above the Canal. The steps and deck are of glass and Istrian stone, with the walls entirely of glass with bronze handrails. At night, fluorescent lights set in the handrails illuminate the bridge.