Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ponte di Rialto

The Ponte di Rialto (or Rialto Bridge) is the oldest and most famous bridge spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Initially built in 1250 as a timber bridge to cross to the Rialto market on the eastern bank, today, this bridge has become an icon to the city. The first wooden bridge was a simple structure composed of two inclined ramps meeting at a moveable central section that could be raised for large ships to pass through. In the first half of the 15th century, two rows of shops were built along the sides of the bridge, whose income helped with the maintenance of the bridge. In 1444, the bridge collapsed under the weight of a crowd watching a boat parade, and it collapsed again in 1524. Finally, in 1551, Italian authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the bridge, and Antonio da Ponte beat out other architects such as Palladio, Vignola, and even Michaelangelo for the project. The present stone bridge was completed in 1591, and it is remarkably similar to the original wooden bridge with its single span flanked by boutiques.

Sara Anrrich

No comments: