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.
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.
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.
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).