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Visit Venice

Ponte di Rialto


The Rialto Bridge is arguably the most beautiful and definitely the most famous and oldest of the 4 bridges which cross Venice's Grand Canal. The site has always been an important crossing point as the Rialto market was nearby and traders needed to be able to cross the water easily. Before the Rialto Bridge there were only wooden bridges, which kept collapsing for one reason or another, until it was decided to build a more solid and permanent bridge out of stone. The bridge was constructed in 1591 to connect the districts of San Polo and San Marco, it took 3 years to build and it remained in use for 300 years. The bridge designer was Antony da Ponte.

The bridge has inclining ramps from both shores which meet in the middle at a central portico. The underside of the bridge has one large arch which crosses the water. The bridge has a covered portico with shops on either side and three walkways running across the bridge. The central walkway is the widest while the outer two look down onto the water through arched openings and over a beautiful balustrade. The arched bridge is 7.5 meters at its highest point and spans 48 meters. The bridge is supported by 12,000 wooden pilings rooted deep in the canal bed below. The bridge had to be high to accommodate the ships bringing goods in to the city from across the globe. Today it is one of Venice's top tourist attractions and a symbol of the city.

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