The Grand Canal is Venice’s vastest and most important canal.

It crosses most of the city, making a double curve, starting at the train station and ending near St Mark’s Square. It is the city’s main lane, and the movement of vaporettos is permanent. It is about 4 km long, between 30 and 70 meters wide and it has an average depth of 5 meters.

Those who go to Venice really have to visit this canal, by vaporetto and/or gondola. Both of its banks have stunning palaces that were built over the years. Here we can find several hotels, churches, palaces, the casino and even museums and galleries. It is like cruising through the history of this magnificent city.

There are 4 bridges over the Grand Canal, with Rialto being the oldest and most famous. The neighborhood attached to it is also the oldest in Venice.

Let’s know its history then.

The Rialto Bridge was the first to be built over the Grand Canal. Everything started in 1181, when a fluctuating bridge was built. Over the years, the number of ships sailing there kept increasing and that bridge was replaced by one made of wood. This bridge could be raised to allow the passage of ships.

In the 14th century, the bridge was partially shattered by a fire and in the following century it collapsed under the weight of a crowd that was watching a show. It was rebuilt only to meet the same fate…

With this being the case, in 1505 the idea to rebuilt the Rialto Bridge started to gather more support, but this time with stone. Several projects were requested, with the winner being the one outlined by Antonio da Ponte, uncle of the architect who designed the Bridge of Sighs.

Antonio da Ponte’s project was based on the former wooden bridge’s design. It is made of two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico, and, on either side, the ramps have rows of shops. This design was deemed audacious for the time.

The bridge was built between the years of 1588 and 1591 and it still exists as we speak. It is an absolute ex libris of the beautiful Venice.

Right next to the bridge you will find the Rialto Market. It is an excellent spot to know the city’s history and cuisine.

Lost yourself there. Go to the market and then keep going towards the Bridge. From up there, have a glance over the boats sailing the Grand Canal. Cruise the Grand Canal, so you will end up with another perspective of the bridge itself. You will love it!