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Rialto bridge

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Rialto bridge in Venice

Published by Nicole B. — 5 years ago

Venice is famous and known for its huge amount of bridges. Nevertheless, the Rialto bridge or Ponte di Rialto is one of the most famous one, which attracts huge amounts of visitors every year. While many little booths and stores are located on it, it is possible to see the Canal Grande from both sides of the bridge.

The bridge was named after the area Rialto, the most important trading center of the city several hundred years ago. A real highlight are all the smaller and bigger boats passing by on the canal grande as well as the gondolas, which are so typically for Venice.

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Rialto Bridge

Translated by Amy Stamford — 3 years ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

Rialto Bridge is the most famous bridge in the whole of Venice, it is a must-visit and no tourist can miss out on its beautiful architecture and its historical significance.

It is one of my favourite tourist spots and highlights the Venetian culture, one of the most touristic places to visit in the city and the scenery here is beautiful, the view from the bridge is very pretty and people visit it from all over the world, to cross the Grand canal.

Although there are lots of places and monuments to visit in Venice, after I have been to the city, the truth is I always remember these three things most about my trip: gondolas with gondoliers, San Marco Square and of course, the Rialto Bridge.

One of the several reasons why this bridge is one of my favorite places is the variety of nationalities and cultures that you can find crossing over it, simply from one side to the other. Normally, it is full of people and tourists taking photos so although the bridge is not that long, it takes around one/two minutes to cross it, depending on the time of the day. The busiest time is lunch time, during this time you could say that you see every culture in the world around you on the bridge: Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Croatian, German, American, Bolivians, Venezuelans, Colombians, all kinds of nationalities, it is very impressive and very beautiful at the same time.

Rialto Bridge

Venetian residents make the most of the tourists on the bridge as it is filled with different gift and food stalls, selling recreated figures of the bridge, the famous Venetian masks, traditional Italian costumes, typical drinks like limoncello (typical Italian liqueur made from lemons and other citrus fruits) and all kinds of goods and items that you can find by simply walking over the bridge in a single minute. You can experience history, different cultures and pure beauty all in the same place, located on the waters of the Grand Canal, it is one of the most unique places in the whole world.

As for the history of the bridge, its importance apparently lied in its great economic worth to the city, which doesn't surprise me as I don't think much has changed today. I would be curious to know how much revenue this famous bridge brings nowadays, certainly more than I could imagine.

The bridge is built in three parts, two sides built at an angle and the third part links both promenades which is sheltered and makes up the central part of the bridge. So if you start from the open side of the bridge where you can enjoy views of the Grand Canal, you can move to the middle or sheltered part, which is where you will find most of the shops.

Rialto Bridge

The outside part is made up of numerous oval arcs which are apparently the backs of the shops on the bridge. They are brown, made of a type of wood and give the bridge a distinctive character. I couldn't believe the first time I saw people had done graffiti on these arcs because they are such symbolic monuments and I don't understand how people can do such a thing to monuments loved so much by its citizens.

Apparently this bridge was built on a previous wooden bridge which had been burned and destroyed several times. In the end, architect Antonio da Ponte built the bridge that now proudly stands in Venice, where hundreds of gondolas, boats and 'vaporettos' pass under it daily.

Rialto Bridge

It is best to take a photograph of the bridge from the two paths that lead onto it. There are also some wooden planks floating on the canal where you can take pictures from where sometimes there is a queue! But it is the best location to capture its beauty and grandness; however, if you want a photo of the canal itself, it is best to take it from the bridge. The view of the Grand Canal with the typical Venetian houses and gondolas is just incredible.

To take the most impressive photo of the bridge, the best option is to ride a gondola under it so that you have a photo with the Rialto Bridge and the canal in the background. This photo is something else. When I took a gondola past the bridge, there was a beautiful sunset in the background, so I managed to take a photo of the bridge at dusk.

Just down the bridge towards San Marcos is the 'Venetian Rialto market', a market with lots of nice food, fruits and vegetables. On both sides of the bridge, there are some great bars and restaurants where you can eat a piece of relatively "cheap" pizza or eat somewhere that will completely empty your pocket. If it seems at first that it is cheap, be sure to check they won't rip you off, because you are paying for the beautiful views... nothing comes for free in Venice.

I really liked this beer place that was just down from the bridge, it was so lovely to relax and enjoy a good beer in the evening and see the bridge lit up and just watch people passing by.

There are also lots of pizzerias on both sides of the bridge, you have to try them because they are delicious. A very thin pizza with just cheese and ham is surprisingly a lot better than all the other flavours that they offer, as the legend goes, apparently Italians are the best pizza makers in the world so you will see many pizza restaurants lining the banks of Rialto.

I think my favourite part of the holiday was getting up early one morning, so that we could have breakfast just below the bridge. I wanted a breakfast like people do in the movies and the truth is that I didn't care how much money it was going to cost me, now and again you have to treat yourself and that morning I was determined. The truth is that it was well worth it.

Rialto Bridge

We arrived at the bridge and we went to one of the most expensive cafes just below it. The waiters were very elegant and I could see the chairs and tablecloths were decorated very precisely, surrounded with flowers and flower pots... I realised it was going to be quite expensive. However, looking back and seeing the beautiful bridge cast in the spectacular sunshine, surrounded by the beautiful waters of the canal and thousands of people passing by, I couldn't resist so I told the waiter we would like a table straight away. A few days after returning from Venice, I actually saw a picture of Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa with their partners in the exact same place where we had been!

The cafe itself was great, very well located with beautiful views as you can see in the photo. I didn't know that morning I was going to eat the most delicious croissant I had ever tasted, outside of France of course. I ordered a cappuccino and croissant, and it was more than 10 euros, but hey ho, one day is one day.

The croissant was only small and I initially thought that the quality of the food here would not be that good and that we were just paying for the location and the prestige of it all. However, when I picked up the croissant, it was quite heavy for its size and I realised that in Italy, croissants are filled with jam. I have to say that I'm not the biggest fan of jam, but I loved it.

It is quite normal to see banners or advertisements on the central part of the bridge which often advertises certain events in Venice, normally attractions.

As for the gondolas, I'm not sure why most people think that you can only get them from Rialto, you can get them from there but there are also many different points in the city of Venice, or rather in the tourist area of Venice, where you can pay for a gondola ride. For example, I caught one from the entrance of the tourist zone, and each gondolier offers you a certain price for the ride. However, it is difficult to negotiate the price of the gondola if you take it from the area near the bridge as obviously it is a very popular spot.

You cannot miss a gondola ride with the Rialto Bridge in the background, it is a unique moment that you have to experience. Plus, I was lucky enough to go right after George Clooney's wedding, and the gondolier himself told us how the city was transformed and how the newly-weds went under the Rialto bridge on a boat, it was beautiful and there was no apparently not a soul around.

To get to the Rialto Bridge, you just have to follow the directions displayed in almost every street. It is very easy because there is a sign on every corner plus everyone just follows one another so when in doubt, follow the crowd. However like I said it is well sign-posted and you don't need a map to get there, just look out for the directions on the walls.

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