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The Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge that crosses the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy and is one of four bridges that span the canal. It was the dividing line between the districts of San Polo and San Marco.
See the fact file below for more information on the Rialto Bridge or alternatively download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Rialto bridge has a long and rich history and has seen several stages of development of Venice. Keep reading for some remarkable and interesting facts about Rialto Bridge.
- Rialto Bridge is over 160 years old. The idea to rebuild the bridge was originally proposed in 1503 and several projects were considered before the bridge was eventually built in 1591.
- The bridge was originally made of timber. Rialto Bridge was built of stone in 1591, but it actually replaced a previous structure that was made of time. The original structure was built in 1255 and had survived being burnt during a revolt and a collapse under the weight of a crowd on it.
- It was designed by a Venetian designer, Antonio da Ponte. At its longest span, Rialto Bridge is 104 feet long. The bridge is also 29 feet wide and 24 feet high.
- Many famous artists submitted designs for the bridge. The competition for the design of the bridge started because it was so prone to collapsing and, in 1551, a number of famous artists submitted their designs – including Michelangelo. The prize was eventually awarded to da Ponte, who build Rialto Bridge out of marble.
- The design of Rialto Bridge closely resembles the original bridge. The marble bridge has two sloped ramps that lead to a central portico – allowing the passage of tall ships. The original structure was very similar and had two inclined timber ramps which met at a central section. The central section was movable, allowing it to be raised for passing ships.
- People thought that the bridge would collapse. The bridge is single span, which means it is anchored at each end and there is no support in the middle. Many thought it would crumble under the weight of the marble, but it is now regarded as one of the architectural and engineering achievements of the Renaissance period.
- It took three years to construct the Rialto Bridge. Unstable conditions and the depth of the canal meant that the development of the bridge took around 3 years from start to finish.
- The bridge was funded, in part, by an early form of the lottery. In 1590, a lottery was started to meet the costs of the bridge. Tickets went on sale for two crowns and the prize was one hundred thousand crowns.
- Rialto Bridge is a major tourist attraction. Today, the bridge is not just used to cross the canal. It is one of the most highly visited tourist attractions in all of Venice, with millions of visitors every year.
- The area of Rialto around the bridge is one of the first parts of Venice to be constructed. Silk, spices and precious stones were traded at the Rialto market.
- Rialto Bridge has inspired many artists. The bridge appears in a number of paintings by artists inspired by the marble arch. The most famous painting, Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto by Italian Renaissance artist Vittore Carpaccio, dates back to 1496 when the bridge was still made of wood.
The Rialto Bridge Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use The Rialto Bridge worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about the Rialto Bridge which is the oldest bridge that crosses the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy and is one of four bridges that span the canal. It was the dividing line between the districts of San Polo and San Marco..
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Rialto Bridge Facts
- Describe It!
- Fill in the Blanks
- Word Search
- Rialto Market
- Old and New
- Who Am I?
- Rebuilding Rialto
- Word Jumble
- Tourist Spot
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Use With Any Curriculum
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