Tourist Guide Venice

Rialto Bridge

Venice was built on over 100 islands and is traversed by 150 canals. It comes as no surprise then that this city has an incredible number of bridges. 400 is the estimated number, however the person who apparently counted them is unknown. One thing which is for certain is which of these many crossings is the most famous. This is the Rialto Bridge which impressively spans over the Grand Canal connecting the neighbourhoods of San Marco and San Polo.

Rialto Bridge by rain

Why the Rialto Bridge has become one of the most photographed images of Venice has several reasons. One is surely in the former importance of this construction. When the bridge emerged it was the first bridge to span the Grand Canal and in so doing, allowed Venetians to walk over dry land from one district to another. Another reason is that for centuries Rialto was the economic heart of the republic. The great trading houses stood here and the influential banks had their palaces here. Luxury goods that had arrived from all corners of Venice and then sold all over Europe were also sold here. The architecture of the bridge enabled ships to sail safely underneath it. Is the Rialto Bridge beautiful however? This is a matter of taste. Its architect – Antonio de Ponte competed with his design against other renowned architects like Palladio and Michaelangelo; the aim came about in the late 16th Century and was to replace the rotten wooden bridge that formerly stood in its place. Perhaps the other architects had more aesthetically pleasing and better proportioned designs however Antonio received the contract, as he promised to deliver a stable and practical bridge.

Rialto Bridge

Today here one will find less of the economic and more of the tourist heart of Venice. To visit the lagoon city and not see the Rialto Bridge – this can not be so! Consequently day after day crowds of people push and shove over the steps, photograph each other and buy souvenirs from small shops that have emerged either side of the bridge. For young travellers the immediate vicinity surrounding the bridge – in particular on the San Marco side has become a popular meeting place to get to know other people. Those interested in Venetian cuisine can peer into the market of San Polo from here and perhaps be inspired to take a stroll through it; even if ones own kitchen lies a few thousand kilometres away – the market is simply a great experience. Fresh fish, meat, fruit, vegetables and herbs are always available and all with an exceptional quality that needs no comparisons.

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