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PONTE DI RIALTO

written by Chiara Guzzetti

Ostuni città bianca

The very first step on the Grand Canal was a boat bridge built in the twelfth century by the same architect of the columns on the Piazzetta San Marco, Nicolò Barattieri. The name of this bridge, called Ponte della Moneta, was due to the presence of the Mint, which stood at east, toward San Marco. The economic and commercial life of the city in this era was focused here, in the area known at the time Rio Alto.


At around 1250, it was replaced by a wooden bridge structure that opened at the top to allow the passage of ships in the Canal Grande. This was rebuilt several times after the various fires that devastated the city. During this time the bridge was named the Rialto Bridge, an integral part of the market life.

In the first half of the fifteenth century along the sides of the bridge, there were built two rows of shops. The first stone bridge in Istria rose in ‘500, when the Venetian authorities made a contract for the renovation of the Rialto Bridge. Famous architects such as Jacopo Sansovino, Andrea Palladio and Vignola, presented draft pf classical approach, with several arches, which were judged not suitable.
The race was won by Antonio da Ponte, and the bridge, very similar to the previous wooden one, was completed in 1591. The two banks of the Canal were reinforced in order to provide due support to the arches. 6000 oak poles were placed in the ground on each side to support the heads. The arch of the Rialto bridge has an height of 7.50 meters with a span of 28 meters, divided into three tiers with walkways, with two rows of shops.

It still is one of the commercial and financial centers of the city; today the tourists spend fortunes in the "souvenir shops" of the bridge - symbol of the Serenissima.

  • Under the bridge
    Under the bridge
  • Night View
    Night View

VENICE: OTHER GUIDES

  • The Bridge of Sighs

    written by Cedric Mills

    In the second half of the sixteenth century Antonio da Ponte ordered the construction of new prisons, which were built in 1600 by Antonio Contin. Up to this time, Palazzo Ducale had hosted, in addition to the apartment of the Doge, the seat of the... continue

  • The Square of Saint Mark

    written by Cedric Mills

    Its appearance is the result of projects more and more consciously by the City itself over the centuries. Here was located the high power for over a millennium. At the same time, it was the meeting point between different people, sharing the history... continue

  • Palazzo Ducale

    written by Chiara Guzzetti

    There is no definite information of how it was this building that stood in place of the palace, but it was a kind of fortress with massive walls and towers. It was isolated by a canal and there were public post offices, the courthouse and the... continue

  • Cannaregio

    written by Chiara Guzzetti

    The main waterway is the Cannaregio Canal, which e connects the Grand Canal and the lagoon. It is the only channel inside the old town, over the Grand Canal, where the boats can pass. And it is only crossed by two bridges, of which one is the Ponte... continue

  • The Academy

    written by Chiara Guzzetti

    In the Fall of 1750, following the decision of the Senate, the Academy opened its doors to the prestigious school with 36 teachers, which were chosen each academic year for the four core subjects. These were "figure", "sculpture", "portrait",... continue

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