Glass and steel bridge polarises opinion in Venice

A bridge which spans the Grand Canal in Venice has attracted so much controversy that plans for an inauguration have been scrapped, the Times has reported.

The steel and glass structure was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and links Venices railway station with Piazzale Roma – the citys car, bus and ferry terminal.

It was due to be opened on September 18th by President Napolitano, but claims that it looks like a "lobster" and is a "monument to bad administration and a waste of Venices money" means the ceremony will not take place.

However, the bridge has not been universally criticised and indeed has some advocates.

Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale, has described the structure as "beautiful and honest".

"I like it very much," he told the newspaper.

"The shape is just right, the relationship between its length and density is more than acceptable. It is also useful, and utility is part of beauty."

It is only the fourth bridge to have been built over the Grand Canal, and is Venices first for 70 years.

In addition to the bridge, Calatrava has designed the 2004 Athens Olympic stadium and the Milwaukee Museum of Fine Arts.