Robert Langdon, the main character in Dan Brown’s Inferno, begins his adventure in Tuscany, precisely, in Florence. He thereafter goes to Venice, and then to Turkey. This article is the first part of a brief guide to the places in Venice mentioned in the novel.
Venice is an Italian island city that is environmentally, architecturally, and historically unique. In its heyday, the city was styled la serenissima (“the most serene” or “sublime”). It remains a major Italian port in the northern Adriatic Sea and is one of the world’s oldest touristic and cultural centres.
The city has held an unrivaled status in Western thought: the luminous spectacle of ornate marbled and frescoed palaces, bell towers, and domes reflected in the waters of the lagoon has been painted, photographed, and filmed to such an extent that it is difficult to distinguish the real city from its romantic representations.
Today Venice belongs to the artistic and architectural patrimony of all humanity.
Venezia Santa Lucia railway station
The Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia is the only railway station in the historic city of Venice. The station is one of Venice’s two most important railway stations, the other one being Venezia Mestre. Construction of Santa Lucia station began in 1860. One year later, to make room for the station, the convent and the church of Saint Lucia (from which the station takes its name) were demolished. The current structure is the result of a series of projects initiated in 1924 by the architect Angiolo Mazzoni and continued later with the collaboration of the architect Virgil Vallot. However, the station was only completed in 1952, after a design developed by another architect, Paul Perilli. The station is connected to the rest of Venice by the vaporetti (public water buses) or private water taxi boats.
Aeroporto Marco Polo (Venice Marco Polo Airport)
Venice Marco Polo Airport is located in Venice, precisely, in Tessera, a frazione of the Comune of Venice closest to Mestre. The airport was named after the Venetian traveller Marco Polo, whose book introduced Central Asia and China to Europeans. The airport is connected to the nearby railway station of Venice Mestre and to several destinations in Venice.
Il Canal Grande (The Grand Canal)
The Grand Canal (in Italian, Il Canal Grande) is Venice’s main waterway. It follows a natural channel that makes a reverse-S course from San Marco Basilica to Santa Chiara Church and divides the city into two parts. Slightly more than 3 Kilometers in length and between 30 and 70 metres in width, the canal has an average depth of 5 metres and connects at various points with a maze of smaller canals. The Grand Canal is flanked on either side by more than 170 buildings (palaces, churches, hotels, and other public buildings in Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles), most of which date between the 13th and 18th centuries. Only one bridge intersected the canal up until the 19th century, namely, the Ponte di Rialto. There are currently three more bridges: the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Ponte dell’Accademia, and the recently constructed (2008) Ponte della Costituzione. The Grand Canal forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city: public transportation is provided by vaporetti and private water taxis, even though many tourists explore the canal by gondola.
Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge)
The Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is one of the four bridges crossing over the Grand Canal. It is the canal’s oldest and most famous bridge, and it was built in the last years of the 16th century (completed in 1591). It is renowned as an architectural and engineering achievement of the Renaissance. It was designed and built by the Swiss-born Venetian architect and engineer Antonio da Ponte, and his nephew, Antonio Contino, following a design competition. A single stone-arch span supports a broad rectangular deck carrying two arcades of shops fronting on three roadways.
Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridges of Sighs)
The Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) spans the narrow canal (Rio di Palazzo) between the Doge’s Palace and the New Prisons, the world’s first building specifically designed as a prison. It was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte designed the Rialto Bridge) and was built in 1600. It served as a passage for inmates from prisons to the offices above the Inquisitors of State, where they were judged. The enclosed passageway was named after the “sighs” of the prisoners who passed over it. According to local legend, lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bells of St Mark’s Campanile toll.
Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of the Barefoot)
Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of the Barefoot) connects the sestieri (a subdivision in six districts of certain Italian towns) of the two districts of Santa Croce and Cannaregio. It is also known as the bridge of the railway station due to its proximity to Santa Lucia train station. Designed by the engineer Eugenio Miozzi, construction began in 1932, and the bridge was opened merely two years later, in October of 1934, replacing an Austrian iron bridge. It is an Istrian stone arch bridge.
Pictures by notizie.comuni-italiani.it