Ponte di Rialto by PONTE, Antonio da
PONTE, Antonio da
(b. ca. 1512, Venezia, d. 1597, Venezia)

Ponte di Rialto

1588-91
Photo
San Polo, Venezia

The Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice. It is the oldest bridge across the canal. In this area, which originally housed the food market, there has always been a canal crossing, at first a pontoon bridge was built in 1181 which was replaced by a wooden bridge in 1255. The wooden bridge was made from two inclined ramps with a mobile section in the middle, in order to allow the passage of ships. (The wooden bridge is depicted by Carpaccio's painting.) This bridge was partly burnt in 1310, and later collapsed in 1444 and 1524. In the 16th century it was decided to rebuild the bridge in stone. Several plans were proposed, and finally the plan of Antonio da Ponte was selected.

The current bridge, a stone arch, is similar in style to the previous wooden bridge. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico, the covered ramps carry rows of shops.