I love a bridge. I have no engineering knowledge just a fleeting interest in how something is made but bridges please me so very much. Sometimes with iconic bridges, if you don’t manage your expectations then they can disappoint. The Ponte di Rialto in Venice was a good example of this. Incidentally, it was designed by Venetian architect and engineer Antonio da Ponte, which must be one of my favourite cases of nominative determinism.
For those not familiar with this term it is the theory that people’s names appear to have determined their choice of work. The term was first used by the magazine the New Scientist in 1994 and they have championed the theory ever since. The example which started them off down this path was noticing that a paper on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology was written by A. J. Splatt and D. Weedon. To whom I am forever thankful.
Anyway back to Venice, when I was there it was covered in scaffolding and canvas as maintenance work was underway. But that wasn’t the cause of my disappointment it was the crowds – ‘capista’ the crowds! They, or should I say we as I obviously added to the numbers, clogged the steps both up and down this beautiful masterpiece and it just wasn’t a very enjoyable experience.
I did have a second experience of the Ponte di Rialto but this was at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, so it was like a miniature/Disneyland version of the bridge. Also, the designers in their infinite wisdom have decided that American tourists had already walked too far from The Strip so instead of steps there is a travellator, it was certainly a moving experience…
Ponte di Rialto in Las Vegas
When I relocated to Edinburgh, one of my first day trips was to walk across the forth road bridge, I met a few other people walking in the opposite direction and it was if I had automatically became part of a club, pausing to say hello, sharing pleasantries about the day and marveling at the view of the narrowing forth on one side and over to resplendent rail bridge on the other.
The Forth Rail Bridge – under construction (not my photo)
There used to be an exhibition at a hotel in North Queensferry which had a visitors’ book providing a glimpse into people’s reasons for walking over the bridge and their experience of it – which should have been a rather mundane read but instead it was utterly captivating. And now there is a new bridge currently under construction and I can’t wait to see it, in fact the suspension is killing me!