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Rialto Bridge

Venice’s busiest and most iconic bridge, the Rialto gives visitors a wonderful view of the Grand Canal.

TravelCurious Tip

The regular vaporettos (water buses) that ply the Grand Canal are a great way to get a different perspective of the bridge.

The Rialto Bridge is a world-renowned symbol of Venice. Connecting the historic districts of San Marco and San Polo, the bridge is one of the city’s most iconic and visited landmarks, and for three hundred years it was the only way to cross the Grand Canal on foot. It is now visited by millions of tourists each year, but despite the crowds it remains utterly unmissable.


Setting it in Stone

There has been a bridge of one sort or another on this site since the 12th century. However, after various burnings and collapses of these flimsy timber structures, it was finally decided that a more permanent stone bridge should be built. Various designers were considered, including Michelangelo himself, but the job was eventually given to Antonio da Ponte, who completed the work in 1591. At the time, the design was so audacious that many contemporary architects predicted that it would collapse before long.


A Cultural Icon

Over four hundred years later, the bridge is still standing, and the beautiful stone arch continues to dazzle its visitors. Two covered ramps from either bank meet to form a beautiful arched portico in the middle. From here you get a lovely view looking south-west down the Grand Canal towards the Ca' Foscari University. The ramps are lined on both sides by shops which sell the usual souvenirs and knick-knacks, and buskers can usually be heard strumming or singing on either side of the canal.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Venice
Marco Polo's House
Believed to have been the residence of the world famous explorer and his family, the ancient Corte del Milion is a must see for adventure lovers.
Rialto Market
A historic market where Venetians buy fresh frutti di mare from friendly fishmongers.
Tapas (Cicheti)
In many ways distinct from other Italian regions' food, expect polenta, seafood and sweets.
Wine (Ombra)
The residents of Venice have been drinking wine for centuries, including Pinot Grigio and Prosecco.
Grimani Palace
A 16th century Renaissance-style palace, housing works of art, ceiling frescoes and restored chambers.
Gelato
The Venetian take on ice cream - not to be missed!

Related Tours

Private Tour of Venice in a Day inc Tickets
Discover the architectural and artistic highlights of Venice on this full day tour!

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House  (entrance not included)
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
  • Conclude at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Venetian Highlights

Begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space, this square is enclosed by the astonishing St Mark’s Basilica and the magnificent Doge’s Palace. We will make a visit to the Doge’s Palace, built in 812, which is one of the best examples of Venetian gothic architecture. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is another superb building that will be sure to capture your attention. St Mark’s Basilica is deemed to be an icon of Italian art and culture and the city’s top highlight. 

Bridging 118 Islands

You will walk on to discover more about the iconic house of Marco Polo, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo and Campo S, as well as marvelling at the beauty of Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. We will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge- Rialto. Famous as the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place to buy beautiful Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will conclude our tour admiring dozens of Tintoretto Paintings in the breathtaking building of Scuola Grande di San Rocco, named after St. Rocco, the saint protector against the devastation of plague.
Private Tour of Venice in a Half Day inc Tickets
Enjoy a whistle-stop tour of Venice, which is particularly useful for those short on time or new to the city.

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House 
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
Iconic Locations

The itinerary will begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space; this square is enclosed by the stunning St Mark’s Basilica and the absolutely magnificent Doge’s Palace. You will make a visit to the palace, originally built in 812, and celebrated as one of the best examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the city. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is St Mark’s Basilica, deemed as an icon of Italian art and culture; it is indeed one of the city’s top highlight. 

Onto the Rialto Bridge

You will then walk on to discover more about Marco Polo’s House, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo & Campo S. Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. You will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge - the Rialto. Famous for being the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place in Venice to buy Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will then take a leisurely stroll around the bustling Rialto Market, a picturesque shopping area primarily selling fish and vegetables to the Venetians for more than seven centuries.
Venetian Markets at Dawn
Start your day experiencing Venice like a local. Discover the real heart of the city when the city is just beginning to stir.

  • Wake up to the landmark squares and sights of Venice 
  • Visit Rialto -the  trading hub, full of buzzing markets 
  • Watch the fisherman at work as they cut and prepare Venetian squid 
  • Discover fruit and vegetable markets 
  • Learn how to prepare a famous Venetian artichoke 
As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm, and on this tour, you will certainly explore the tourist hotspots before the crowds awaken. Not only will you see Venetian's famous canals, squares, and landmarks, but  you will also see the millenary trade centre come alive before throngs of tourists flock to the centre. 

From Rialto market to Cannaregio district, you will escape the tourist traps and venture through authentic Venice. Watch fisherman at work as they prepare and cut Venetian squid, and observe the slicing of artichoke before they are sold at food markets. Be sure to ask your private guide for a local espresso recommendation for a burst of caffeine before you commence your tour! 
Become a Gondolier!
Sure there's something idyllic about being a languishing tourist in a Venetian gondola, but have you ever considered the years of practice it takes to become a master gondolier? This unmissable experience takes you from a tourist-passenger to a novice gondolier, giving you insight into the challenging skill the locals make look seamless. 

On your tour, 
  • Enjoy hotel pick-up  with a traditional Venetian boat 
  • Learn the basic techniques and positions necessary to row a gondola 
  • Celebrate (or calm your jittery nerves) with an aperitif following your lesson
  • Leave with a signed certificate from a master gondolier proving you too have gained a new skill 
A Venetian guide will welcome you on board a traditional gondola from the 1700s, before giving you an introduction to the basic techniques, positions, and movements typically used to row. Once you feel confident, you will row the gondola yourself! Cross the stunning mazes of canals and bridges across the city, and explore Venice from an authentic perspective. Celebrate your first rowing lesson with a deserved Venetian aperitif at the Caneva (rowing pier) to conclude your tour. 
Private Tour - Unmissable Venice inc Tickets to St Mark's bell tower
Trace the city’s fascinating beginnings, learn about its failed defense against the plague and unearth its dark secrets. Focusing on the neighbourhoods of San Polo and San Marco, your journey will take you through Venice’s grandest central district. The architecture is sublime, the excitement rejuvenating and the atmosphere totally unique. 

  • Begin at the Mercato di Rialto (an ancient food and produce market)
  • Explore the Grimani Palace, a lesser known Venetian treasure
  • Climb the Basilica St Mark’s bell tower, take in the breathtaking views across the city
  • Visit St Mark's Square, and see the outside of the beautiful Doge’s Palace
You will begin your tour walking towards Venice’s pre-eminent bridge- Rialto. Famous for being the oldest bridge on the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place to buy beautiful Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you’ll stroll around the bustling Rialto Market, a picturesque shop primarily selling fish and vegetables that has been in existence for more than seven centuries.  Here, you will be able to take in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the market! Venetians have been trading fish, vegetables, meat and spices here for 1000 years. 

Next, explore the San Polo district and the Grimani Palace. Following this, cross the Grand Canal and ascend St Mark's bell tower. Enjoy breathtaking views over the city.

 Venture through the most magical streets and canals of San Marco, and pass the iconic St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space, this square is enclosed by the astonishing St Mark’s Basilica and the magnificent Doge’s Palace. You will see the Doge’s Palace, built in 812, which is one of the best examples of Venetian gothic architecture. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is another superb building that will be sure to capture your attention. St Mark’s Basilica is deemed to be an icon of Italian art and culture and a top highlight of the city. 
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