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Rialto Bridge | Italy's oldest and most visited Bridge | Learn the why

Updated: Jul 22

General Info📚

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

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In The World of Venice, Jan Morris paints an affectionate picture of the Rialto Bridge:

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.

Rialto Bridge

The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, was finally completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded.

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.

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