Rialto Bridge - Rialto Bridge information and pictures

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is the oldest bridge across Grand Canal, which divided the San Polo and San Marco districts. The first temporary crossing was built by Nicolò Barattieri in 1181. It was a pontoon bridge called Ponte della Moneta, with a mint found near the eastern entrance. Shops opened doors along Rialto Bridge during the 15th century. They were rented out to maintain it. In 1503, there was a proposal to rebuild the bridge, and several projects were presented. Famous architects such as Vignola, Palladio, and Jacopo Sansovino offered projects. The present bridge was designed by Antonio da Ponte and made of stone. It was completed in 1591. Architect Vincenzo Scamozzi and others were skeptical because of the bold design and engineering. The bridge stood the test of time to become one of Venice’s architectural icons.

Rialto Bridge is one of the famous bridges crossing the canal, and it is probably the most photographed bridge in Venice. It is an engineering and architectural masterpiece of the Renaissance period.

The structure resembles that of the previous wooden bridge and is covered by a portico. The wider cord is 66 feet long and the lower cord is about 83 feet. Its 24-feet (7.5-meter) arch was built to allow the passage of galley ships. Some 12,000 wooden pillars were used to support the massive structure. It is formed by inclined ramps, and there are shops on both sides.

Three walkways cross the bridge, a wider passage in the center and 2 along the outer balustrades. The central archway is accessed via wide stairs and is found at the pinnacle. It is used as a lookout perch. There are shops under the arcades, many of which catering to visitors. The small shops sell Murano glass, linens, jewelry, and other items. Tourists flock to this area to enjoy the wonderful views of the canal’s waterways. The bridge consists mainly of steps, however, and this can be a problem for visitors with wheelchairs or strollers.

It is easy to find your way to Ponte Ponte di Rialto. Follow the signs ‘Rialto’ from the Piazzale Roma or from the train station. As you walk through the city’s maze of streets, look for arrows painted on the walls and pointing to Rialto. Tourists walking from Piazza San Marco should go to the clock tower and follow the Mercerie (upscale shopping streets) to reach Canale Grande. Another option is to take a water bus or vaporetto to reach the bridge. On its way to the canal, bus No 1 calls at Rialto Bridge. Ferries 82 and 4 also call there.

The bridge is close to the Rialto Market, which is found in the San Polo sestiere. It has been a major produce and fish market of Venice for centuries. The Rialto Market is a good place for tourists who are looking for inexpensive, good restaurants near the bridge. This area is also where salesmen traded their goods and set sail, where the first banks opened doors, where prisoners were punished and held, courts met, and new laws were voted. For more than 700 years, the institutions around Ponte di Rialto have performed important administrative functions.

Up until the nineteenth century Rialto Bridge was the only bridge to span the Grand Canal and the only link between the two sides of Venice. Rialto Bridge has shops on either sides selling souvenirs, Venetian masks and blown Venetian glass.

Where is Rialto Bridge: Canale Grande

How to get there: By vaporetto- Rialto stop

Rialto Bridge Venice Italy
Rialto Bridge Venice Italy
Rialto Bridge and the Grand canal, Venice

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