This graceful pedestrian bridge is one of Venice's most familiar sites to tourists, and a very busy place! The bridge is one of only four spans over the Grand Canal, and the oldest. Construction took place between 1588 and 1591. When opened, it replaced a succession of wooden bridges at the same site.
the Rialto Bridge is one of the more famous crossings of the Grand Canal.
It was designed by Antonio de la Ponte in 1591. Other architects predicted its fall...its' still there, pretty good!
Tons of people and tons of expensive shops as you approach
Another one of those iconic images that everyone has seen pictures off from Venice. However, I'd say that this one is perhaps best from afar. When viewed from a boat on the Grand Canal heading from San Marco to Rialto the bridge is a wonderful sight as it comes in to view amongst the elegant palazzi, up close it's only really ok. There are some great views from the south side balustrade along the Grand Canal but you'll have to fight to get to see it. Even on a bitterly cold February day we struggled to get a look in. The North side of the bridge is much less congested but also much more neglected looking (quite a bit of graffiti here) and the views are not so good. Up the centre of teh bridge is a central thoroughfare which is lined with shops selling all the usual Venetian souvenirs.
The Ponte Rialto is the oldest of the bridges crossing the Grand Canal and the current one was constructed between 1588 and 1591. Previously there had been a number of wooden bridges here icluding one which collapsed under the weight of the spectators in 1444 at a wedding ceremony.
My boyfriend made it a point for me to see this bridge. I didn't know why but he said I should take pictures of it. My observation was that it was a fairly large bridge and lots of people were on it. Fact: This bridge has been built, fallen down, replaced several times until, finally, the present stone bridge designed by Antonio da Ponte was completed in 1591 and is supposed to be the oldest bridge across the canal.
It is a sight to see. If you're in Venice, you should seek it out!
The energy and the quality of light from this bridge at either end of the day is impossible to adequately describe. It reminds me of waking up in the deserts of the southwestern United States. It just feels right and happy. I know because of the crowds at sunset this seems like a strange analogy but works for me.
So brave the crowds especially in the evening. They are less packed in on the north side and the light is still great. If you come at sunrise head over when you are done and watch the fish market fire up.
The Rialto Bridge goes back a very long way, long as the 12th Century, and one could cross from San Marco to San Polo District. It was originally a wooden bridge, built in the 13th Century, which had ramps and a movable central central that was raised for passage of tall shops. During the 1400s rows of shops were built where the rent went towards in maintaining the bridge.
Following bridge collapses the bridge was rebuilt in stone in 1591 and designed by Antonio da Ponte. The rebuilt bridge had similar features to the wooden one. The bridge then wasn't popular but became of Venice's architectural features and defied beliefs of the critics.
There are three ways of crossing the steep up and down Rialto Bridge:
1° The central walkway between the shops is used by the Venetians and those tourists who just want to join Canaregio or San Marco to San Polo and San Croce without looking at the Grand Canal. All my sympathies go to the Venetians who each day have to fight their way through the crowd on this bridge. I hate this bridge because each time I had to cross the Ponte di Rialto my wife put me in front of her in order to open the path like a bulldozer or tank.
2° The smaller southern walkway with the view on the Grand Canal towards San Marco.
This is the most crowded part. Views are great if you are able to reach and maintain yourself at the parapet.
I have a tip which I hope will be rated as very useful by VT members. Climb the stairs by the larger central walkway, between the souvenir shops, at the summit of the bridge turn left in the opening portico between the shops and push with your elbows until you reach the parapet. The balustrade in stone is strong and high enough to keep tourists from falling in the Grand Canal.
3° The small northern walkway is less crowded because the Grand Canal bends here so that the view is limited and less nice than on the other side. This side is nevertheless interesting from a navigational point of view because the vaporetto's are not able to pass each other in the bend of the Canal under the bridge. No navigation incident happened during my walk on the bridge.
Since I read that the Campanile opposite San Marco tumbled down on July 14, 1902, without any warning but without victims, I am somewhat suspicious about the resistance of Venetian monuments, being aware of the soil on which they are built.
Consequently, before climbing the steps of the Rialto Bridge I gathered some information on the supposed strength of this bridge.
The previous bridge in wood collapsed in 1444 under the weight of a crowd watching a boat parade and it collapsed again in 1524.
The new stone bridge was build between 1588 and 1592 by the architect Antonio Da Ponte (a good name for building bridges).
The overall length is 48 m, width 22 m, the single arch has a width of 28 m and maximum height of 7,50 m in order to allow the Venetian galleys, among which the famous Bucentaure, nowadays the Vaporetto, to pass under the bridge.
The engineering of the single span bridge was considered so audacious that another architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, competing to get the project for himself, predicted that the bridge would collapse.
So let's have a look at the engineering as the Rialto Bridge of Antonio Da Ponte is still standing and apparently presents no danger for the millions of tourists climbing her steps.
For each side of the arch 6000 "pali" piles of wood with lengths between 1 and 3,50 m were used for the foundations.
The balustrade of the bridge is made of "Pietra d'Istria" a quite resistant calcareous rock of bright white colour.
No doubt the Rialto Bridge is strong, nice and practical as wanted by the Venetian authorities of the 16th c.
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest and most picturesque of the four bridges crossing Venice's Grand Canal. This stone bridge designed by Antonio da Ponte was completed in 1591, replacing the former wooden bridges that had collapsed at different times. The main purpose of the bridge was to give access to the Rialto market, a popular food market that still exists today. Next to Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge probably is the most crowded area in all of Venice, but it offers such nice views of the Grand Canal, one can hardly blame visitors for stopping by. As with the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, both sides of the bridge are filled with shops, only this time the different stalls are mostly occupied by souvenir shops. Another Venitian icon that's worth seeing with your own eyes!
The most famous bridge in Venice, except maybe the Bridge of Sighs, crosses the Grand Canal. The Rialto Bridge was designed by Antonio de Ponte and finished in 1592. It replaced earlier wooden bridges which just wouldn't endure. The view of the canal from atop this bridge of one of the most celebrated vistas in Venice.
Nearby are plenty of markets selling fresh produce, seafood, meats, souvenirs, clothes, and you-name-it. A great place to browse.
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