Rialto Bridge: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Rialto Bridge.

  • The Rialto Bridge is one of four bridges that cross the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. The present bridge replaced a previous structure and was built in 1591.
  • The bridge was designed by a Swiss engineer, Antonia de Ponte and its longest span is just over 94 feet long. It is 75 feet wide and 24 feet high.
  • Michelangelo was one of the many who submitted a design for the new bridge. It was intended that the bridge be sturdy and have space for shops, so that rent could be collected.
  • The bridge took 3 years to construct, due to the depth of the canal at this spot and the unstable conditions. Most of the buildings in Venice are supported on wooden pilings.

Rialto Bridge

  • The bridge was designed so that tall ships could pass under the bridge. However, the design was controversial at the time, with many critics saying the bridge would crumble.
  • The money needed to build the Rialto Bridge came from several different sources. Some of it even cam from an early variation of the lottery.
  • Today, the Rialto Bridge is not only a means of crossing the canal, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Venice. It is also one of the best places  in the city from which to take a photograph.
  • The area of Venice around the Rialto Bridge was one of the first parts of the city to be constructed. Silk, spices and precious stones were all traded here.
  • The first bridge across the Grand Canal at this same spot was a wooden bridge, built in the 12th century.
  • Not far from the Rialto Bridge is the famous Rialto fish market. It has been on the same site for over 1,000 years.

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