Bridge Thirty-Nine - Ponte Maria Callas

The next bridge is just a little further on the same canal and is named Ponte Storto o Caotorta, but first we did a detour to the only bridge in Venice named after a singer - the Ponte Maria Callas. The famous opera singer performed at the adjacent La Fenice theatre many times between 1947 and 1954, and it was here that she first started coming to the attention of opera fans. Thus, a most suitable honour to bestow on the diva and name a bridge after her.

Ponte de Maria Callas

Suitably elegant-looking and recently renovated in white stone with sculpted stone balustrades befitting an opera star, the sole purpose of this bridge is to provide access for patrons arriving on foot, on their way to attend shows at La Fenice.

Despite the canals in this area being generally quiet with little boat traffic on them, we could see, while standing on the crest of the the bridge, that this spot was a favourite stopover for gondolas and their crews and passengers. This was because, as we were watching, a gondola traffic jam developed as four gondolas jostled to pass each other underneath the bridge. I admired the poise of the gondoliers, maintaining their pose while almost effortlessly untangling their boats without causing any consternation or losing their composure to throw a typical traffic tantrum. Never did tourists in the gondolas for a moment change their dreamy expressions of wonder as they gazed around at the canal-side buildings and scenery surrounding their tied-up gondolas.

Watching the gondolas pass by the famous music venue, quietly and hardly causing a ripple in the water I imagined how splendid the scenery must have been here at the theatre a few hundred years ago as gaily costumed and coiffed couples arrived in style in their private gondolas for a romantic evening at the theatre. Most probably everything was dark except for the flickering lights of candles and lamps reflecting in the water, and perhaps one could hear the orchestra fine tuning their violins as they prepared for the performance. In fact, there is a small gondola landing by the side of the bridge, so you can still experience your own gondola  arrival at the theatre today, a pricey but once-in-a-lifetime experience!


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