The Rialto Bridge is one of the best places to view the Grand Canal in all its splendor!!!
The Rialto is the oldest of the three bridges spanning the Grand Canal.
Originally made of wood, it caved in, in 1440. It was rebuilt, but again of wood, but this time with the addition of several shops along it.
It had a special mechanism which allowed the middle section to be moved, whereby even the tallest ships could sail through.
But it was somewhat unstable, and thus in the 16th century it was decided to build a new bridge.
A competition was held, drawing the participation of such wellknown architects as Michelangelo, Palladio and Sansovino, all of whom worked on the project for years.
Antonio Da Ponte, a relative unknown in such illustrious company, was awarded the contract and designed the bridge which was not finished until 1592.
The Rialto is a single span bridge; whose span measures 90 feet (27,4 meters) across, and has a maximum height of 24 feet (7,3 meters) at the middle. (The narrowest crossing of the Grand Canal is here).
The two ends rest upon 12,000 pylons sunk into the muddy depths.
The 24 shops lining the bridge are separated by a double arcade from which you can walk out on the terraces and get a superb view along the Grand Canal.