The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, and without question it's one of the most iconic sights in Venice. There has been a bridge at this site since the 12th century, connecting the districts of San Marco and San Polo, and until the Accademia Bridge was built in 1854, the Ponte di Rialto was the only way to cross the canal on foot. Early versions of the bridge were made of wood and eventually succumbed to fire or collapse, until its current incarnation was constructed of stone by Antonio da Ponte in 1591. Beyond the mandatory walk across the single-span stone bridge, there is an open-air market at its eastern foot that is worth a wander. Skip the stores selling jewelry on the Rialto Bridge itself, however; you'll find better quality and value in other parts of the city.
By Becca Blond, AFAR Local Expert
You'll have likely seen the Rialto Bridge on hundreds of postcards before you even step foot in Venice. But to see it in real life, in all its somewhat faded but still magnificent glory, is an experience you'll never forget. The bridge was built in 1591 by the aptly named Antonio da Ponte and the views over the Grand Canal makes it one of the icons of La Serenissima—the most serene city of Venice. The open air market at its foot is worth a visit, though there are better places to shop for jewelry than the stores on the bridge.
By Gretchen Kelly, AFAR Local Expert
As a boat whisk you away to your destination and your journey through the Grand Canal is both hectic and enchanting, your first impression of Rialto Bridge is magical.
Lost and Found - Part One
'Get lost' was the advice that I received prior to arriving in Venice, Italy. Everyone knows where they are 'supposed' to go, but sometimes we forgot the it's not the destination but the journey that provides the true adventure. So I took my friend's advice, stood atop the Ponte di Rialto, and just started to walk. It was a cool morning, and the city was just beginning to awaken. A light rain began to fall, and you could just barely see your breath. All the locals were doing their morning commute, getting from point A to point B in the most efficient manner. But not me, I was going to get lost . . .
By Matthew Keesecker, AFAR Local Expert
Aqua Alta Morning.
I love this picture . It was early morning and I saw this man playing with his dog and he would throw ball to the dog but because of the high tide you could not see where the street ended but the dog did every time!
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