Tuesday, August 7, 2007

And then there were 410

Venice has long had 409 bridges; three of which cross the Grand Canal. By the end of this year, there will be four. And last night, I had the opportunity to witness history being made.

Once again, in Venice, it's all about who you know. I am lucky enough to know someone who has access to an apartment on the Grand Canal that has for its view, a picturesque glimpse of the Rialto Bridge. And shortly after 1 in the morning, the top curved part of the new bridge glided ever so slowly and carefully under Rialto heading towards its new home at Piazzale Roma (the bus station).

This was not without controversy. Lined along the edges of the Canal were protesters. You see, the new bridge is not for the Venetians. It is for the tourists, in an effort to ease congestion and transportation. The Venetians would rather have improved housing opportunities or better yet, a new stadium to practice soccer! Although I dont know about the soccer thing, I can imagine the discussion is much like the new Phoenix Cardinals football stadium---a waste of money since they arent ever going to win more than 1 or 2 games a season. However, I will agree to the housing needs. It is no secret that it is extremely expensive to live here and the city is decaying around us at a rate quicker than she is being restored.

But regardless of your view on the new bridge (yet to be named), it was truly a sight to see as it inched under Rialto and curved just so as to not touch the top or the sides. The mayor was there, cheers, boo's and overall excitement was in the air. For about 1/2 hour, the bridge was maneuvered through Rialto before it straightened out and continued on its journey to the end.

Last weekend, the two end pieces of the bridge were erected and somewhere in the next few days, they will hoist this top piece. After that, they will reinforce and cover with glass steps! Due to be completed by the end of the year, I am sure it will be a sight to see.

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