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The Votive Bridge

almost full moon

Even though it was a short trip, I packed a lot in and wasn’t quite sure where to start writing about it on the blog. I decided to start with the bridge. This is a view of Santa Maria della Salute and the almost full moon taken from the votive bridge built for the Festa della Salute.

When I arrived in Venice on Thursday morning, the city was covered in thick fog that gradually burned off as the day progressed. After taking my luggage to the B&B (I’ll be raving about the new place I stayed soon), the first place I went was to check out the votive bridge.

The bridge was up on Thursday but not open yet. While I knew a bit about the history of the Festa, I didn’t know much about the actual events; fortunately there were signs all over the city with the schedule. The bridge opens on Friday at 11 am and remains open until Monday night at 11 pm. As you can see on the poster below, the celebration is on-going inside the church for several days prior to November 21 and for a few days beyond.

votive bridge at night

For some reason, I was so excited about walking across this bridge. I guess it’s the novelty of seeing Venice from a different vantage point. And throughout their history, Venetians have loved making grand processions around their city; I loved being part of one on this temporary bridge. I heard a tourist ask his friend, why do they need another bridge, don’t they have enough of them? It’s all part of the tradition and in fact, when this Festa began in the late 17th century, the Rialto bridge was the only bridge across the Grand Canal; the Accademia bridge hadn’t been built yet.

on the bridge

So anyway, I went back on Friday morning to walk across the bridge and it was great fun. Another thing I learned is that the bridge doesn’t actually go to the front of the church. It starts on the San Marco side at the Santa Maria del Giglio traghetto stop (right next to the Gritti Palace) and extends to the Calle del Traghetto San Gregorio in Dorsoduro; from there it’s a short walk to La Salute.

The bridge is built on pontoons so it’s a floating bridge (and it feels like it’s floating when you walk on it…it’s kinda bouncy!). The side of the bridge has a stop light on it for the boats, and it does slow up traffic on the Grand Canal since the larger boats have to aim for the opening in the middle.

stop light

While the bridge is up, there are various changes to the vaporetto schedule and there are posters around about this too (the Giglio stop is closed for the duration, and they suspend night service on this section of the Grand Canal).


More about the Festa coming soon…

You can click on the photos to see them larger (on Flickr).


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Comments (12)

Thanks Annie for that first report : )
I love the first picture!
I'm curious to read about your B&B.
Have a nice day!


What a great experience! I've wondered how "bouncy" the pontoon bridge would be.

And your photos are wonderful, what a great perspective on such a beautiful church.

I am loving your photos, and the interesting story about the "floating bridge" How fun to be there and take part in it all. I love the night time shot of the bridge. Oh, it makes me wish I was there, I have really missed Venice since we were there in May.

Annie, Your photos only add to this great first post! Once again you have enlightened me - over the Christmas vacation I am going to go through your blog and take notes for future trips to Venice! Speaking of which, I am directing my niece to take a look at your blog as her family will be visiting soon and you give such an interesting perspective on your beloved second home.


We've been to the Salute festival a couple of times. You really get the feeling that this is 'real' and not a tourist thing, don't you. I was disappointed with the bridge - I had seen old pictures of it supported on old boats but I can see it makes more sense these days to have it on purpose-made pontoons. Still exciting to cross though.

Annie, thanks for the pictures. I've never seen pictures of the bridge taken from the vaporetto. Very cool. How long does it take to take it down?

Thanks everyone.

AnnaLivia, I'm going to write a review of B&B Fujiyama for Slow Travel; I'll send you the link when it's published. It was such a great place to stay (and the guys speak French too!).

Menehune, I'm glad Venice is on your "to do" list. :)

Andrew, you are so right. Very "real" and not touristy at all. I'm really glad I was able to experience it.

Daniel, it must be pretty quick to take it down. They did it in the middle of the night on Monday night after it closed at 11 pm, and it was gone on Tuesday morning.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I love your photos. I also enjoyed walking across the Votive bridge. That night photo is gorgeous and also your first photo. I read your latest post but want to start from your first one in the series. What really touched me about this festival is you can really feel how important and how much it means to the people. You've captured that in your posts. I loved watching the Venetians walk towards the Salute.

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful experiences there and your beautiful photos.

LB :

Jealous! I want to go back to Venice! Hope you had a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing your pics! :D

Kathy, you're right, you really can tell how much this festa and the Madonna della Salute mean to the Venetians.

LB, thanks! I hope you'll be able to go back sometime soon.

Evgeni V. Pavlov:

I'm looking forward to that "raving about B&B" post...

Thank you Annie! I will report back to you about this special event!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 29, 2010 12:09 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Ahh Venice....

The next post in this blog is Festa della Salute.

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