Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal


Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal.

Rialto bridge and Palazzo dei Camerlenghi.
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Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal


immagine didascalia


immagine didascalia

Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal.


immagine didascalia

Rialto bridge and Palazzo dei Camerlenghi.



The Rialto Bridge

The first passage over the Canal Grande was a floating bridge of boats built in 1181 by Nicholas Barattieri, called the Ponte della Moneta. The growing importance of the Rialto market meant so many people and goods crossed the floating bridge that it had to be replaced by a wooden bridge renamed the Ponte di Rialto  in around 1250.

This was destroyed in a fire in the 1300s and was again later rebuilt in the 15th Century with two rows of shops on either side. The idea of building a stone bridge came about after the wooden bridge tragically collapsed, was rebuilt and again collapsed.
In 1551 the Venetian authorities called for projects for the new bridge: after viewing the projects by the top architects of the day (Sansovino, Palladio, Scamozzi, Vignola and Michelangelo), the contract to rebuild the bridge was awarded to Antonio da Ponte, a simple hydraulic engineer in 1588.
Construction took just three years, for what was then a huge amount of money: more than 250,000 ducats.
The structure of the stone bridge is very similar to the previous wooden bridge: it has a single arch covered by an elegant portico and is divided into three flights of steps with two rows of shops either side, joined at the centre by arcades.


1500  -   S. POLO - rev. 0.1.6

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