The Ponte dell'Accademia is one of only four bridges in Venice to span the Grand Canal. It crosses near the southern end of the canal, and is named for the Accademia galleries. First suggested as early as 1488, a bridge was not constructed until 1854. The original steel structure, designed by Alfred Neville, was demolished and replaced by a wooden bridge in the 1930s, despite widespread hopes for a stone bridge.
The second bridge, in a dangerous condition, was razed and replaced by the present bridge, of identical construction, in 1985.
From the top of the Accademia Bridge, you can enjoy views of the Grand Canal in both directions. You can see the Accademia vaporetto station on the Dorsoduro side of the bridge, with the Accademia art gallery (wrapped for exterior renovation) just behind.
If you're hungry, head for the Dorsoduro side of the bridge and look for the Pizzeria Accademia by the water. The restaurant gets high marks for friendliness and value from the authors of Venice's premier restaurant guide, and its canalside patio is open year-round.
Beneath the entrance to the bridge on the Accademia side of the canal, you'll find attended public toilets. (You'll need coins to pay, unless you have a Venice Connected pass.)
The original Accademia Bridge was built in 1854, when the city inaugurated a steel bridge designed by English architect A.E. Neville (who also designed the original Ponte dei Scalzi near Venice's Santa Lucia Railway Station). It was replaced by what was intended to be a temporary wooden bridge in 1932.
Half a century later, in 1985, the city held an architectural competition for a new bridge design; in the end, however, the crumbling Mussolini-era bridge was replaced by a new wooden replica of the 1932 structure.
Today, Venice's mayor is making noises about building a modern replacement for the Accademia Bridge, this time with a corporate sponsor, but public opposition--fueled by delays and cost overruns in building the new Ponte di Calatrava over another stretch of the Grand Canal--may put the mayor's ambitions on hold.
Map of Accademia Bridge
The bridge is located in the final loop of the S-shaped Canale Grande, just before the canal feeds into St. Mark's Basin. It connects the sestiere or quarter of San Marco with Dorsoduro, and it's convenient if you're on your way from the Piazza San Marco to the Galleria dell'Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, or the Santa Maria della Salute Church.