For me, the Rialto Bridge in Venice was second only to the gondola ride with a singer in the evening atmosphere of Venice in terms of romance. So I was really excited during our stay.
The Rialto Bridge, Ponte di Rialto, is one of the most famous buildings in Venice. It is about 48 metres long and 22 metres wide and crosses the Grand Canal.
Around 1246, a wooden bridge was built on this site. However, this was in constant need of renovation due to the rotting of the wood or fires.
In 1507, it was decided to build a stone bridge. It proved difficult to reach agreement on the design and financing of the structure. It was not until 1588 that agreement was reached on a single segmental arch and the erection of shops on the bridge. The merchants would thus help finance the bridge and reduce the construction costs for the city.
In 1591, the construction of the footbridge was finally finished. The foundation of the bridge’s abutments still consists of over 6000 driven wooden piles on both sides of the bridge. There are still shops on the bridge today. In 2015, work began on restoring the structure and is expected to be completed by mid-2016. Despite the work on the bridge, visitors can still cross the Grand Canal via the Rialto Bridge.
In numerous films and books, the Rialto Bridge is a romantic place and many photos also make the construction seem incredibly beautiful.
What a contrast to reality.
Already on the way to the bridge, the road fills up noticeably. Flat stairs lead out a completely crowded bridge. If you want to get to the balustrade, you either need to be assertive or meander cleverly through the crowds. From here you can watch the hustle and bustle on the Grand Canal and try to take a few photos. However, it is hardly possible to linger longer, as the next visitors are already jostling from the bridge to catch a glimpse. The shops on the bridge were mostly closed during our visit or really only geared to the flow of tourists and offered souvenirs.
Even the Grand Canal is extremely crowded below the bridge. We took the water bus under the bridge. Numerous gondolas, water taxis and smaller boats pass under the bridge, turn around and bring passengers back.
I was disappointed by this place, which was always busy even in the evening hours and did not exude any romance for me.
Sestiere San Polo,
30125 Venezia, Italien