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The Ponte di Rialto across the Canal Grande, Venezia.

February in Venice: couldn't believe our luck with the weather! It stayed like this for the three days we were there, and we were able to picnic on Torcello.

A wooden bridge stood in this place from 1255 to 1524, when it collapsed for the final time. The idea of rebuilding the bridge in stone was first proposed in 1503. Several projects were considered over the following decades. In 1551 the authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the Rialto Bridge, among other things. Plans were offered by famous architects such as Jacopo Sansovino, Palladio and Vignola, but all involved a Classical approach with several arches, which was judged inappropriate to the situation. Michelangelo also was considered as designer of the bridge.

The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, was finally completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico the covered ramps carry rows of shops. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.

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Additional Photos by Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1069 W: 303 N: 3029] (13875)
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