Ponte di Rialto

Venice Rialto

The oldest of the four historic bridges spanning the Grand Canal is also one of the most famous bridges in the world. The stone bridge dates back to the mid-16th century (a wooden bridge stood in its place from the 13th century) and is unique in that it has a canopy with an arcade for shops.

Ponte Rialto is one of Venice's main attractions, so be prepared for huge crowds of tourists.

Choose a hotel with a view of the Rialto

History of the Rialto Bridge

The bridge stands at the point where the Grand Canal, Venice's main thoroughfare, is at its narrowest and was the site of the first pontoon bridge back in the 12th century. However, when the Rialto Market, after which the bridge is named, was built nearby in the 13th century, the pontoon structure was no longer sufficient and a wider wooden bridge was built. In 1444, however, it could not withstand the onslaught of people watching the parade of ships and collapsed.

An architectural competition for a new stone bridge was launched at the beginning of the 16th century, at a time when the Venetian Republic was expanding and growing considerably richer. The architect Antonio da Ponte won the competition and the bridge as we know it today was completed in 1591.

Shops and a beautiful view

The entire bridge is surrounded by shops selling all sorts of souvenirs in an arcade in two rows that runs across the bridge.

The highest point of the Ponte di Rialto offers the most beautiful view of the Grand Canal, but you have to expect a queue for a photo.

Accommodation overlooking the Ponte Rialto

Would you like to see two icons of Venice - the Ponte Rialto and the Grand Canal - right from your hotel room? Then check out these hotels right by the Rialto Bridge:

Prices are logically higher than the rest of Venice and you'll pay from about 150 eur per room per night.

Location and transport

The Ponte di Rialto is right in the centre of Venice, roughly in the middle of the Grand Canal and is part of the main pedestrian route from the train station to St Mark's Square.

The nearest water bus stop is called Rialto and is about 50 metres from the bridge. The lines stop here 1, 2, 2/ and the night line N.

The A line of the more expensive Alilaguna company also stops at the station.

What to see around

Discover all the places to see in Venice.

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