The Constitution Bridge (Aka Calatrava Bridge)
It is the fourth bridge spanning across the Grand Canal, from Piazzale Roma (Car Terminal of the city) to Santa Lucia Train Station.
The bridge has been inaugurated on Sept. 11, 2008, after several years of an uneasy building and many controversies. The project is by the well known Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava (author of some of the most interesting and attractive bridges all over the world) it was gifted…well it’ s just a way to say, to the city in 1997. Its arch is 81 meters long and the maximum height from the water is 10 meters; it is 9 meters wide on the centre and 6 on the heads.
The bridge is a very modern opera and it is harmoniously inserted in the Venetian context. The skeleton is made of steel. The steps and the parapet are made of tempered glass and Istria marble, all materials extensively used in the city.
Spectacular was the laying of the bridge, even if quite discussed, due to some controversy concerning the enormous delay and the uncontrolled raise of costs (it cost around 12,5 millions of euros).
Works begun in 1997, and an endless series of mistakes and debates between the architect, the builders and Venice government caused the delay and its over-expense. Finally, on 28th July 2007 an enormous barge took the three parts of the bridge trough the Grand Canal to the definitive site between Santa Chiara and the Train Station, and particularly suggestive was the passage of it underneath Rialto Bridge also because there was not much space to do that..
The name “Ponte delle Costituzione” derives from the fact that the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in Venice for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Italian Constitution, should have inaugurated the bridge (the inauguration was cancelled due to some political opposition).