Bridges in Venice do more than just joining the different parts of the city together. They serve as landmarks, meeting places, defining points in an utterly unique urban fabric. The design for Ponte della Costituzione aspires to meet these needs fully, while contributing a markedly new and vital element to the Grand Canal. A long sweeping form of glass and steel accessed by steps, Ponte della Costituzione is a pedestrian bridge designed by and named after the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It is sited at an extremely strategic point, connecting the railway station with the Piazzale Roma. The bridge is important both functionally and symbolically, giving visitors their first impressions of Venice and providing a panoramic view of the Grand Canal.
The bridge is 94-meter long (308 feet), with a central span of 81 meters (266 feet). It rises from a height of 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) to 9.28 meters (30 feet) at midpoint. The all-steel structural element consists of a central arch of very large radius (180 meters or 590 feet), with two side arches and two lower arches. Joining the arches are girders made of steel tubes and plates, forming closed section boxes, which are placed radial to the main radius. The steps and deck of the bridge are made of tempered security glass, natural Istria and Trachite stones, picking up the design of the existing pavement. At night, fluorescent bulbs set within the handrail illuminate the path, adding to the stage-set effect created by illumination from below the transparent deck.