August 25, 2012

0313 ITALY (Veneto) - Rialto Bridge - part of Venice and its Lagoon (UNESCO WHS)

I was telling here that I visited Venice in June 2010. But I didn't said that two places I particularly liked and they remained well ingrained in my memory: the island of Burano, with its brightly coloured homes, and Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge). In the half an hour in which I admired the Grand Canal from the top of the bridge's arch, among crowds of tourists and a few locals, I felt, I couldn't tell why, as in a movie from 70's. Maybe because I have seen so many times on television this aquatic highway of Venice, crossed by innumerable vaporetti, boats, and gondolas and bordered on both sides by buildings so diverse, some of them of 700 years old, that in my mind has become a visual cliché.

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto), the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, was intended since the beginning to link the sestiere (districts) of San Marco and San Polo. The Rialto, an area in San Polo, is for nine centuries the financial and commercial centre of the city. The first dry crossing of the Grand Canal was a boat bridge built in 1181 and named Ponte della Moneta (the Mint Bridge), because of the mint located near its eastern entrance. The market grew, the traffic on the bridge also increased, so it was replaced in 1255 by a wooden bridge, made from two inclined ramps meeting at a movable central section.

In 1310 it was partly burnt in a revolt, but in 1514 survived the fire that destroyed most of the buildings in the Rialto. During the first half of the 15th century two rows of shops were built along the sides of the bridge. In 1444 it collapsed under the weight of a crowd watching a boat parade, catastrophe which repeated in 1524. In 1551 the authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the Rialto Bridge from some of the best architects of that period, Andrea Palladio and Vincenzo Scamozzi, but both projects contained three big arches, which were inappropriate to the situation.

As a result, won a project by Antonio da Ponte, with a single arch (48m long and 22m wide), two inclined ramps and a central portico, similar to the previously wooden bridge. Built between 1588 and 1591, it become one of the architectural icons of Venice, even if Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted at that time a quick collapse.

Rialto Bridge is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Venice and its Lagoon, about which I wrote here

About the stamp
In the maxicard, issued at Salone del collezionismo, a collector showroom which held in Venice between 23 and 25 April, 2010, is "the Rialto Bridge with gondolas, a 19th century image taken from M. Leon Galibert - Histoire de la Republique de Venise, Paris, 1856". The stamp (showing, of course, Ponte di Rialto) was issued on March 16, 2007.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #130, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Rialto Bridge - Wikipedia
Rialto Bridge - In Venice Today
Ponte di Rialto stamp - Way Marking

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Venice (Veneto / Italy), on 24.07.2012

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