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A short history of the Rialto Bridge, Venice


Rialto BridgeVenice, the famous Italian merchant city, has enjoyed a long and illustrious history and continues to inspire all who visit with its majestic architecture, mysterious atmosphere and awe-inspiring beauty. Venice’s bridges are possibly the most iconic sites in the floating city, and none have received more praise than the Rialto Bridge. Choose your Venice holiday apartment here to discover first-hand its amazing history.

The Rialto Bridge is an epitome symbol of all that is so wonderfully Italian: stunning, inspiring and utterly romantic It is the oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal and stands today as testament that a little vision and risk-taking can go a long way into creating history. Indeed, the bridge was initially considered by most to be ugly and unstable; yet 500 years later it still reigns supreme and is, alongside St Mark’s Square, the most visited tourist attraction in Venice.

A gondola ride under the Rialto Bridge is the stuff of dreams, and an activity not to be missed while on a Venice holiday. The first bridge of Venice was built on this site in 1180, and its construction greatly facilitated trade between the two major fractions of the municipality: San Polo and San Marco. That is, of course, until it collapsed in 1264. The second construction was a little sturdier but that too fell prey to an unfortunate end, and was almost entirely burned down during a revolt in 1310. A drawbridge was then designed and built but, whilst one might think it was third time lucky, it really was not.

It was not fourth time lucky either in 1444 and definitely not fifth time lucky in 1524, when the bridge collapsed for the fourth, and final, time. For Venice it turned out to be sixth time lucky, when an audacious architect by the name of Antonio da Ponte offered an innovative design for a brand new bridge made entirely of stone. He was deemed a fool and the design ridiculed, but the governor of Venice, desperate for a permanent solution, took a chance and awarded da Ponte’s design full points. Construction started in 1588 and the Rialto Bridge was officially opened three years later. The architectural feat was indeed way ahead of its timeand, whilst some predicted it wouldn’t last a year, the design proved itself worthy of praise. The construction has not only stood the test of time, but is considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.

We can only assume Antonio da Ponte would be quite chuffed with his efforts.For the first 300 years of its existence, the Rialto Bridge was the only connection between the two sides of the Grand Canal, but another three have been built in the last two centuries.Should you be lucky enough to be planning a holiday in what is considered ‘the most beautiful city man has ever made’ don’t forget to take a stroll over the Rialto Bridge and let Venice’s history and romance engulf your senses.

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