Rialto Bridge Venice

Until 1854, when the Ponte dell’Accademia was built, the Rialto Bridge was the only bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice. It is still the most famous one of the four and one of the most picturesque and often photographed spots in Venice. The design by Antonio da Ponte was chosen over the one of the rather more famous Michelangelo.

Rialto Bridge Venice

Practical information

The Ponte di Rialto is difficult for people in wheelchairs or parents with strollers, as it is largely made up of steps. The bridge connects the districts of San Marco and San Polo. Vaporetto: 1.

History and description

Ponte Rialto Venetië
De Rialtobrug

The Ponte Rialto used to be a pontoon bridge and was built in 1181 by Niccolò Barattieri. This first bridge was later replaced by a series of wooden bridges. In the middle of the 15th century, shops were built on it for the first time. In those days the Ponte Rialto also had a central drawbridge.

In 1592, a wide arch was built in the middle of the bridge. The designer was Antonio da Ponte. Venice was then an important maritime city and the use of only one arch was forced by the busy trade traffic on the Grand Canal.

The Rialto bridge is supported by no less than twelve thousand wooden pillars. The choice of Da Ponte‘s design was surprising, since he was not even an architect. Other entries, by Michelangelo, Sansovini and Palladio were discarded.

At the bottom of the Rialto Bridge there are statues of the patron saints of the city, Marcus and Theodorus.

The shops on either side of the Ponte Rialto are covered by a portico.

Fish market (Pescheria)

The most famous fish market in Venice is held practically at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. This takes place under a neo-Gothic building called Pescheria. It was not until 1907, when this building was redesigned not by an architect, but by the painter Cesare Laurenti.

On the other side (San Polo) of the Ponte Rialto the Riga degli Orefici market is held.

Rialto Bridge, Venice

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