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Accademia Bridge

Ponte dell'Accademia

Accademia Bridge photo

ABOVE: A view of the Accademia Bridge from the San Marco side of the Grand Canal. The bridge connects the Campo San Vidal with the Campo della Carità.

It may not be as famous as the Rialto Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs, but the Accademia Bridge, a.k.a. the Ponte dell'Accademia, is an important pedestrian thoroughfare across Venice's Grand Canal.

The bridge is located in the final loop of the S-shaped Canale Grande, just before the canal feeds into St. Mark's Basin. It connects the sestiere or quarter of San Marco with Dorsoduro, and it's convenient if you're on your way from the Piazza San Marco to the Galleria dell'Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, or the Santa Maria della Salute Church.

A temporary bridge since 1932

The original Accademia Bridge was built in 1854, when the city inaugurated a steel bridge designed by English architect A.E. Neville (who also designed the original Ponte dei Scalzi near Venice's Santa Lucia Railway Station). It was replaced by what was intended to be a temporary wooden bridge in 1932.

Half a century later, in 1985, the city held an architectural competition for a new bridge design; in the end, however, the crumbling Mussolini-era bridge was replaced by a new wooden replica of the 1932 structure.

In more recent years, Venice's former mayor made noises about building a modern replacement for the Accademia Bridge (this time with a corporate sponsor), but public opposition--fueled by delays and cost overruns in building the Ponte di Calatrava over another stretch of the Grand Canal--put the mayor's ambitions on hold. Instead, the existing bridge has been received a €1.7 million overhaul: its first renovation since 1948.

How to reach the Accademia Bridge

From San Marco, follow the yellow arrow signs to "Accademia," go through the Campo San Stefano, and exit the square on the south side (past the former Church of San Vidal) on your way to the water. From Dorsoduro, follow the yellow "Accademia" signs to the Gallerie dell'Accademia and the Campo della Carità, where you'll see the bridge.

More Accademia Bridge photos

Accademia Bridge photo

From the top of the Accademia Bridge, you can enjoy views of the Grand Canal in both directions. Here, a tourist is looking in the direction of Rialto. You can see the Accademia vaporetto station on the Dorsoduro side of the bridge, with the Accademia art gallery (wrapped for exterior renovation) just behind.

If you're hungry, head for the Dorsoduro side of the bridge and look for the Pizzeria Accademia by the water. The restaurant gets high marks for friendliness and value from the authors of Venice's premier restaurant guide, Chow! Venice, and its canalside patio is open year-round.

Grand Canal photo

This fisheye-lens view from the other side of the bridge, toward the Santa Maria della Salute Church (the tiny dome in the top of the photo) shows boat traffic on the Grand Canal. The boat on the right is a No. 1 vaporetto, or waterbus.

Canale Grande photo

A few minutes later, the vaporetto is gone and two gondolas have taken its place in the camera's field of view.

No 1 vaporetto photo

The view of the bridge's underside offers a lot of action, too: Here, another No. 1 vaporetto leaves the Accademia ACTV platform (just to the left of the wooden pilings) and heads toward San Marco.

Accademia public toilets photo

Beneath the entrance to the bridge on the Accademia side of the canal, you'll find attended public toilets.

Venice florist photo

Just beyond the opposite end of the Ponte dell'Accademia, on the San Marco side of the Grand Canal, you can shop for flowers or garden seeds at a florist between the bridge and the Campo S. Stefano. (In December, the florist also sells Christmas trees.)

Related articles:
Rialto Bridge
Bridge of Sighs
Ponte della Costituzione

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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