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Rialto Bridge

It is also home to the famous Rialto bridge, one of Venice’s landmarks.
The bridge, which spans one of the narrowest points of the Grand Canal, carries a thoroughfare divided into three lanes by two arcades housing shops.

The original structure was Venice’s very first bridge; built in 1180 to connect the banks of the Grand Canal it was a pontoon bridge known as Ponte della Moneta.
In 1264 it was replaced by a wooden bridge with central drawbridge section that could be raised to let ships pass.
In 1444 it collapsed under the weight of a crowd watching a regata.
It was not until the end of the 16th century that it was rebuilt as a single-arched stone bridge designed by Antonio Da Ponte.

Today the Rialto bridge is one of four bridges crossing the Grand Canal.

The most recent is an ultra-modern bridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and connecting the railway station with Piazzale Roma.
Still awaiting completion, the fourth bridge over the Grand Canal is due to be opened to the public in June 2008.

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