Rialto Bridge

Venice - Rialto Bridge - ponte
Venice - Rialto Bridge - detailVenice - Rialto Bridge - viewVenice - Rialto Bridge - view from the water

The Rialto district was one of the first areas of Venice where people settled. It developed quickly and became an important economic center in the city. Banks, shops and vendor stalls congregated here while merchants from all over the world came to trade charcoal, wines, seeds, jewels and many other things. This richness of activity convinced the government of the Republic of Venice to connect the business district to the political district, leading to the inception of the Rialto Bridge.

The very first Rialto Bridge was made of boats moored to each other. This system lasted until the 13th century as it was not very convenient; if the boats needed to move, it was a tedious process to remove the planks that connected one boat to the other. An actual wooden bridge was built but the wood quickly decomposed and the bridge collapsed. Many other wooden bridges were built over time with the same result –or worse, they were destroyed by fire. Unfortunately, at that time the construction of wooden bridges was easier and cheaper than the alternative.

Things to see

It was not until the 16th century that Venetians finally decided to build the bridge out of stone. Many famous architects such as Palladio, Sansovino and Michelangelo offered their designs for a new bridge with several arches. In the end it was the proposal of Antonio Da Ponte, with only one arch, that was chosen in 1588.

For a long time, the Rialto Bridge was the only bridge on the Grand Canal, however now there are four. The Ponte dell’Accademia and the Ponte Degli Scalzi were both built during the 19th century while the last bridge, the Constitution Bridge, is very recent –it was inaugurated in just 2008!

Very often criticized in its day, the Rialto Bridge has survived floods and thousand of tourists and Venetians alike crossing it every day. Today, the Rialto Bridge is one of the emblems of the city; it can be seen on nearly all advertisement for Venice and is often used to illustrate anything related to the city of Venice.

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Rialto Bridge

Venice - Rialto Bridge - ponte
Venice - Rialto Bridge - detailVenice - Rialto Bridge - viewVenice - Rialto Bridge - view from the water

The Rialto district was one of the first areas of Venice where people settled. It developed quickly and became an important economic center in the city. Banks, shops and vendor stalls congregated here while merchants from all over the world came to trade charcoal, wines, seeds, jewels and many other things. This richness of activity convinced the government of the Republic of Venice to connect the business district to the political district, leading to the inception of the Rialto Bridge.

The very first Rialto Bridge was made of boats moored to each other. This system lasted until the 13th century as it was not very convenient; if the boats needed to move, it was a tedious process to remove the planks that connected one boat to the other. An actual wooden bridge was built but the wood quickly decomposed and the bridge collapsed. Many other wooden bridges were built over time with the same result –or worse, they were destroyed by fire. Unfortunately, at that time the construction of wooden bridges was easier and cheaper than the alternative.

Things to see

It was not until the 16th century that Venetians finally decided to build the bridge out of stone. Many famous architects such as Palladio, Sansovino and Michelangelo offered their designs for a new bridge with several arches. In the end it was the proposal of Antonio Da Ponte, with only one arch, that was chosen in 1588.

For a long time, the Rialto Bridge was the only bridge on the Grand Canal, however now there are four. The Ponte dell’Accademia and the Ponte Degli Scalzi were both built during the 19th century while the last bridge, the Constitution Bridge, is very recent –it was inaugurated in just 2008!

Very often criticized in its day, the Rialto Bridge has survived floods and thousand of tourists and Venetians alike crossing it every day. Today, the Rialto Bridge is one of the emblems of the city; it can be seen on nearly all advertisement for Venice and is often used to illustrate anything related to the city of Venice.

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