Ponte di Calatrava
Lonely Planet review for Ponte di Calatrava
Modern Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s 2008 bridge over the Grand Canal between Santa Croce and Cannaregio has been called many things: a fish tail, a glass-and-steel fantasy, unnecessary, overdue, pleasingly streamlined and displeasingly wheelchair inaccessible. Its detractors point out that its €15 million costs are triple the original 2001 estimate, and engineers are still working to correct a 4cm tolerance to ensure its stability. A wheelchair lift is currently being installed, but at an estimated 16-minute round-trip plus wait times, the vaporetto may remain the faster way for disabled travellers to cross the canal.
Even among its supporters, there is disagreement. Some claim the bridge is best seen at night from afar, when it looks like a meteoric streak of light across the Grand Canal; others prefer it by day, when you can appreciate the red ribbed-steel underbelly. Judge for yourself whether the time and money has paid off, and join the ongoing debates on the bridge’s relative merits at happy hours across Venice.