Rialto Bridge | Italy's oldest and most visited Bridge | Learn the why
Updated: Jul 22
Design: stone arch bridge
Width: 22.90 metres (75.1 ft)
Height: 7.32 metres (24.0 ft)
Construction dates: 1588 - 1591
Engineer: Nicolò Barattieri
In The World of Venice, Jan Morris paints an affectionate picture of the Rialto Bridge:
I think one of the great moments of the Grand Canal occurs when you swing around the bend beside the fish market and see the Rialto there before you, precisely as you have imagined it all your life, one of the household images of the world, and one of the few Venetian monuments to possess the quality of geniality."
History 📑 of Engineering 🏗
Maintenance was vital for the timber bridge. It was partly burnt in the revolt led by Bajamonte Tiepolo in 1310. In 1444, it collapsed under the weight of a crowd watching a boat parade and it collapsed again in 1524.
The idea of rebuilding the bridge in stone was first proposed in 1503. Several projects were considered over the following decades. In 1551, the authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the Rialto Bridge, among other things.
The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.