Which is the oldest bridge ('ponte') over the Grand Canal in Venice?
Rialto Bridge, Italian 'Ponte di Rialto', is a stone arch bridge crossing over the narrowest point of the Grand Canal in the heart of Venice. Built in the closing years of the 16th century, the Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge across the canal and is renowned as an architectural and engineering achievement of the Renaissance.
The first dry crossing of the Grand Canal was a pontoon (floating) bridge built in 1181. The development and importance of the Rialto market on the eastern bank increased traffic on the floating bridge, so it was replaced in 1255 by a wooden bridge.
The wooden bridge collapsed in 1444 and in 1524. The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, began to be constructed in 1588 and was completed in 1591.