Ponte di Rialto and its surroundings

The Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge is considered one of the main attractions of Venice and is also the oldest bridge on the Grand Canal. During the development of Venice, there was no bridge between the two banks of the Grand Canal. To solve this problem, a pontoon bridge was built in 1181 by Nicolò Barattieri and was called the Ponte della Moneta. The development and importance of the Rialto market on the eastern bank increased the traffic on the floating bridge. It was then replaced around 1250 by a wooden bridge, which however collapsed in 1444 and 1524. The present single-span stone bridge designed by Antonio da Ponte was completed in 1591. Today's bridge looks very much like the last wooden bridge. Two inclined ramps lead to a central portico. On either side of the portico, covered ramps housed rows of shops. Admiring the comings and goings of boats from the bridge is electrifying.

 The Rialto Bridge and its surrounding streets are one of Venice's main attractions. The squares along the Grand Canal welcome the hustle and bustle of daily business around the Rialto Bridge. Fishmongers, businessmen, housewives and, of course, tourists gather in the markets and along the narrow alleys. Probably little has changed over the centuries in terms of the concentration of people in the area around the bridge. The bridge is the hub of the Rialto area. Cross it, admire the view, then walk along the banks on both sides to choose the perfect angle for a photograph.

Rialto Market

 Rialto is Venice's oldest and largest market area, and one of the liveliest in Italy. Here you can find fresh fish, seasonal fruit and vegetables. But you'll also find plenty of gastronomic souvenirs to take home. The barges arrive at dawn. Traders unload the food and prepare for a morning of bartering and haggling with customers. If you're staying in a flat in Venice, we recommend buying food at the Rialto market. This is a must-see attraction, even if you don't plan to buy food, visit the market.

San Giacomo di Rialto and the Rialto Hunchback

While strolling through the Rialto Market, visit the church of San Giacomo. The small church of San Giacomo, on the San Polo side of the bridge, is considered the oldest in Venice. According to legend, it was founded on the same day as the city itself, 26 March 421. The Greek cross plan and the portico are those of the Gothic church built in the 13th century. The clock above the church has been famous for its inaccuracy since its installation in the 15th century. The church, located next to the long building of the Goldsmiths' Guild, now the seat of the Water Authority, contains the altar of the Guild. In front of the church is a kneeling statue supporting a staircase leading up to a podium on top of a small column. This is the Gobbo di Rialto from which edicts and other public announcements were proclaimed.