Tuesday, 13 March 2007

A BRIDGE TOO FAR

A much-loved Venice landmark is under threat as the city's mayor pronounces death sentence on the Ponte dell Accademia...
During a press conference on Wednesday 7 March, Mayor Massimo Cacciari made an unexpected announcement. "It is my intention” he said, “to entirely rebuild the Accademia Bridge which, in my opinion, is a wooden piece of junk. The municipality is tired of spending millions of euros on its maintenance every few years."


To journalists’ questions about the cost of the project, the mayor replied that "money is the last of the problems because the world is full of architects who would design the new bridge for nothing and of sponsors who would back the project financially." For the record, the current wooden Accademia Bridge (one of the three bridges which cross the Grand Canal) has been provisional since 1932 when it replaced -- "temporarily" -- an iron bridge built in 1854.
I suppose in a city as old and as unchanging as Venice a bridge that is only 75 years old is probably considered too recent an interloper to merit saving, still there are those of us that will mourn its passing and a Venetian friend tells me that locals are up in arms having witnessed three years of bungled design and construction work on a planned fourth bridge intended to span the Grand Canal at the bus terminal, Piazalle Roma, but still not in place...

Anyway, a couple of words of advice to Signor Cacciari: firstly, if you build a new bridge, make sure it spans the view towards Santa Maria della Salute as elegantly as does the present bridge...


...and, secondly, when you pull down the old bridge, don't dump "the wooden piece of junk" --- sell it to the Americans, they'll look after it and they'll get a far better buy than when they bought the old London Bridge!

[Images: (top) David Weeks, (bottom) Sophie Walpole; both © 2006]

4 comments:

Good Dog said...

Are they nuts? The Ponte dell Accademia is a beautiful bridge. And how else do we get to the Peggy Guggenheim? Or get a such beautiful view of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute?

Brian Sibley said...

Yep! I think they're nuts, too; but, being Italian, nothing is likely to happen within the next decade -- at least, by which time Venice will probably have a new mayor with, hopefully, a different take on the fate of the Accademia!

polkadotsoph said...

Accademia rhymes with Macademia! Nuts indeed!

Brian Sibley said...

Bravo! Wit in the face of absurdity!