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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Today we travel to my beautiful Venice on the Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge across Venice Grand Canal and for sure one of the jewels of Venice.

The Rialto, existed as a wooden pontoon structure from as early as the 12th century. Due to increasing boat traffic, it was replaced by a drawbridge less than a century later. It’s located in the historic heart of the city, linking the Rialto marketplace, where produce and fish are sold, with the old administrative center at St. Mark’s Square.

The wooden version was destroyed – rather dramatically- several times, including during a “ Colpo di Stato” “Coup d’etat” and collapsing during a boat parade. In 1551, the city government opened a competition to rebuild the bridge using durable stones. Many famous architects participated, including Michelangelo and Palladio. The winner, however, was Antonio Da Ponte. In a typical Venetian style, his winning design was very similar to what was there previously.
Like the wooded one, the new bridge has two ramps leading up to an elevated center section. Though many doubted that the heavy marble structure could support its weight across a span of so many meters, the design proved quite resilient, so much that it is still standing today after 466 years, to be exact. Build on as many as 12,000 wooden pilings driven into the marshy floor of the lagoon, this structure is a testament to engineering know-how of the Venetians.

With three walkways and a covered portico that runs across the center, the Bridge was once home to the traders and merchants who set up their shops here. Nowadays it still houses many little stores and kiosks selling Murano glass, fancy jewelry and souvenirs. With the mass tourism in recent years the Rialto Bridge is now primarily the domain of tourists and visitors who flock the beautiful bridge for picturesque photographs with the Grand Canal.

Still a much see of my beautiful hometown.
Tip: on the foot of the Rialto Bridge there is a small store that sells masks, called “Bottega Dei Maschereri”.  Make a stop to visit one the best authentic Venetian “maschereri”, mask makers, the brothers Sergio and Massimo Boldrin. Buy one of their masks to bring home with you a true piece of Venetian tradition and mistery.

From Venice With Love,


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