Ponte di Rialto, Venice

Ponte di Rialto
Since I read that the Campanile opposite San Marco tumbled down on July 14, 1902, without any warning but without victims, I am somewhat suspicious about the resistance of Venetian monuments, being aware of the soil on which they are built.

Consequently, before climbing the steps of the Rialto Bridge I gathered some information on the supposed strength of this bridge.
The previous bridge in wood collapsed in 1444 under the weight of a crowd watching a boat parade and it collapsed again in 1524.
The new stone bridge was build between 1588 and 1592 by the architect Antonio Da Ponte (a good name for building bridges).
The overall length is 48 m, width 22 m, the single arch has a width of 28 m and maximum height of 7,50 m in order to allow the Venetian galleys, among which the famous Bucentaure, nowadays the Vaporetto, to pass under the bridge.

The engineering of the single span bridge was considered so audacious that another architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, competing to get the project for himself, predicted that the bridge would collapse.
So let's have a look at the engineering as the Rialto Bridge of A. Da Ponte is still standing and apparently presents no danger for the millions of tourists climbing her steps.
For each side of the arch 6000 "pali" piles of wood with lengths between 1 and 3,50 m were used for the foundations.
The balustrade of the bridge is made of "Pietra d'Istria" a quite resistant calcareous rock of bright white colour.
No doubt the Rialto Bridge is strong, nice and practical as wanted by the Venetian authorities of the 16th c.

  • Address: Ponte di Rialto
  • Directions: VAPORETTO: Ponte di Rialto Follow signs everywhere that direct you to Ponte di Rialto




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