Where the Grand Canal is narrowing to slip carefully between San Polo and San Marco, the Venetians thought of building a bridge. And because they’ve been thinking about it for a while, at one point, they’ve done it – the Rialto Bridge.
Ponte di Rialto is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, the oldest one, at the same time, and if you will allow us, the most beautiful one.
The first bridge built in 1180 was a wooden bridge and was supported by boats. It was replaced twice in 1264 and 1310 by wood structures, and it collapsed twice, in 1444, during a festivity, under the weight of the crowd, and in 1521.
All these were, practically, training for the stone bridge that was to be born between 1588 and 1591, under the supervision of an architect with an interesting name, Antonio da Ponte (ponte means bridge in italian).
The Rialto Bridge is a multi-arched stone bridge in which a number of jewelry and souvenir shops are now crammed. Two ramps climb to meet romantically under the portico at the top, where tourists have the talent to gather in a very large number.
The length is 28.8 meters, the height is 7.32 meters and the width is 22.9 meters, but the bridge does not impress by its size. The charm comes from elsewhere and, to discover it, you have to look at the ensemble on a larger scale…
HOW TO GET THERE
You may find a public toilet in Venice more difficult than the Rialto Bridge. Arrows titling Per Rialto are on buildings all the way, and no matter where you start searching, you will quickly find a way to the bridge.
If you are too lazy to walk in Venice, try to find the waterbus ACTV Line 1 (direction Piazzale Roma> Lido), get on it and, for the bridge, get off at the Rialto station. Also, there is vaporetto ACTV Line 2 (direction San Zaccaria > San Marco Vallaresso).