A Venice menace
Over now to Ouch's Italian Crippled Monkey counterpart, Scimmia Paralizzata (and no, please don't write in if that's wrong!), for some late-breaking news from the magnificent city of rivers and bridges, Venice.
For the first time in more than 70 years, Venice is getting a new bridge: Il ponte di Calatrava. It's a splendid design by all accounts, a modern structure but one which fits in with the local environment. In fact, there's really only one problem.
It's not accessible.
That's right. Somewhat incredibly, a bridge being designed and built in the 21st century for one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world has been made inaccessible to disabled people. The structure is approached by glass steps, thereby making it useless for people in wheelchairs or those with mobility difficulties.
Both the local Venice council and the architect's company have been overwhelmed by letters of protest, and so there has been some talk of solutions - such as proposals to give disabled people free ferry passes so that they wouldn't need to use the bridge at all (because, of course, we wouldn't want to, would we?) Another suggestion has been to install platform lifts that would travel along the span of the bridge, but the architect Santiago Calatrava is not happy about this, and his reputation is such - he's big in the world of bridge-building, apparently - that no one seems to have the nerve to ask him to think again. Because it's a work of art, innit, not just a bridge.
How it got to the stage where the bridge is on the point of being built without access needs having been taken into consideration is beyond me. That's Venice off the Monkey's tourist itinerary, then.