This post is the first in a new series I’ll be doing, called An Ode to Venice. In it, I’ll be posting pictures and information about my favorite places in Venice, including those that figure into The Violinist of Venice.
The subject of my first An Ode to Venice post is none other than my very favorite spot in the entire world: the view of the Grand Canal and lagoon from the Accademia bridge (or Ponte dell’Accademia).
The first time I walked across the Accademia bridge – one of the four bridges which spans the Grand Canal – I fell in love at first sight. It was the most beautiful view I had ever seen, or have ever seen to this day. The pictures don’t really do it justice; if you’ve never been, someday you have to go and see it for yourself. Like most of the gorgeous views in Venice, I could just stand here and look at it all day. I have a canvas print of a picture of this view – taken by a professional photographer who was in my tour group the first time I went to Italy – that hangs over my writing desk. It’s like having a window into my favorite place on earth, and has definitely provided a lot of inspiration for me!
This view looks towards the mouth of the Grand Canal, where it feeds into the lagoon. Dominating the entrance to the Grand Canal is the church of Santa Maria della Salute – Our Lady of Health – built by the Venetians in thanksgiving for being spared from a bout of the plague in the 1600s. But more about Santa Maria della Salute in another post 🙂
When I went back to Venice earlier this year, this was, of course, my first stop after checking into my hotel. I stood right at the very top of the bridge and, under my breath, sang a part of my very favorite song – Nightwish’s “Shudder Before the Beautiful” – because it so perfectly summed up how I was feeling in that very moment: “We are shuddering before the beautiful/Before the plentiful/We, the voyagers.”
For dinner on my last night in Venice this past spring, I scored a seat at what is probably the best table in the whole city: right at the base of the Accademia bridge, facing my favorite view:
The view from the other side of the bridge isn’t bad either!
How this location figures into The Violinist of Venice: Well, it doesn’t 🙂 The first Accademia bridge wasn’t built until 1854, over 100 years after the events of The Violinist of Venice. The original structure was steel, and it was demolished and replaced by a wooden bridge in 1933. This second bridge was also eventually razed due to safety concerns, and the current bridge (also wooden) was built in 1985.