Expanded Venice, Bridge by Bridge edition available now!

The expanded 2019 edition of Venice, Bridge by Bridge is out now on Amazon! And to say thank you to all the followers here on Facebook, the e-book version is available for FREE, on 13 & 14 June only! All I ask in return is that you review the book once you've had a look. This edition has an added section on the bridges of Chioggia, the hidden gem of the Venice Lagoon, also known as "Little Venice". Even better, why not get the free e-book and order a copy of the print edition as a gift for the Venetophile in your life. 

Venice, Bridge by Bridge

A new bridge in Venice

All over the world communities have different ways of commemorating their dead.

Some towns honour their fallen by erecting statues. Others have plaques, busts, eternal flames, or named buildings.

Thinking about this made me wonder what the best way would be for Venice to commemorate a modern-day hero or heroine.

How about building a bridge in their honour?

Seems fitting, no?

After all, Venice is the bridge capital of the world, with 400-odd of them spread around the city.

So, as probably the only person in the world (apart from Adeline, my partner) to walk across one hundred bridges in Venice in one day, I was particularly pleased when Venice announced recently that the city will be erecting a new bridge in honour of Valeria Solesin, the Italian student and Venetian who was shot and killed during the Bataclan attack in Paris.

Valeria's funeral in Venice took place on St Mark's Square, in what must be the first funeral to be held in that famous square in a while.  The bridge, scheduled to be completed in 2017, will be known as the Valeria Solesin Bridge. Below is a CGI graphic representation of what the bridge will look like.

«Mi dispiacerebbe molto che le cose venissero complicate dalla partigianeria politica. Io sono un uomo libero, e il mio personale sostegno al Sì non dovrebbe portare a minacciare conseguenze sulla giunta di Venezia. Di certo, io non ho paura di niente». Luigi Brugnaro di Venezia è il sindaco, outsider della politica spesso paragonato a Berlusconi. E il suo supporto al Sì ieri ha infiammato Matteo Salvini: «Faccia senza la Lega». Anche se i due leghisti eletti a Venezia non sono determinanti per la maggioranza.

Given the circumstances in which the bridge will be constructed, I doubt whether the sort of raucous public debate that surrounded the design of the snazzy, modernist Calatrava bridge will ensue here. Certainly, it doesn't look like Valeria's bridge will be in keeping with the typical historical style of existing bridges in Venice.

But then, this is the twenty-first century, and the bridge is honouring a young Italian student, so in that sense the design is perfectly fitting. Of course, having her name attached to a Venetian bridge puts Valeria in quite rare company. Many of its neighbouring bridges have been named after Doges, saints, and famous Venetian residents.

I think Valeria is thrilled, wherever she is.

UPDATE: The Valeria Solani bridge was officially opened in May this year. It's in Ferrovia near the rail station, and connects the station and the economic campus of the Ca'Foscari University. We'll be sure to visit it when we're in Venice in November.

When visiting Venice runs in the family

Tomorrow is the funeral of Adeline's grandmother. Her death wasn't a surprise - she'd recently turned 93 - but it's still a great loss. She was a cheerful, grand lady, and I can still hear her standard response when we asked how she was - "All the better for seeing you, dear!" she'd smile, sitting in the sun on the verandah of the old age home where she stayed.
I'll miss her, particularly because, like me and Adeline, she loved to travel. When she heard we'd been to Venice and loved it there, she gave us a photo that ever since has been hanging in our house. 
Grandparents on a gondola in Venice, 1956

 She and her husband had spent three weeks in 1956 travelling in Europe, and among other, they'd visited wonderful Venice. And, like tourists still do today, they'd taken a gondola ride. 
It's a special photo to us. I'm a little sorry that there's no bridge visible in the photo, because that means I would have been able to pinpoint exactly where the photo was taken, and perhaps visit the spot to see how it's changed, and perhaps we could do a reprise photo. Wouldn't that be nice?
Ouma, rest in peace. We'll be sure to continue the family tradition of travelling all over, but especially to Venice.