Around Rialto Bridge 1 (Self Guided), Venice

The Rialto area first appeared in documents dating back to the 9th century. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1514; the only structure left standing was the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. Today Rialto is a busy shopping district with a daily vegetable and fish market, several historic sights, plus a wide variety of shopping and dining options. Part 1 of the Rialto Bridge walk takes you to explore the area on the west side of the famous bridge.
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Around Rialto Bridge 1 Map

Guide Name: Around Rialto Bridge 1
Guide Location: Italy » Venice (See other walking tours in Venice)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 km
Author: naomi
1
Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge)

1) Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) (must see)

There are only four bridges that span the Grand Canal and, if you’re exploring Venice on foot, you’ll find yourself crossing at least one of these sooner or later. Ponte di Rialto is the oldest and certainly the most famous of the four, linking the Eastern and Western quarters of Venice – the districts of San Marco and San Polo. It was originally built of wood in the 12th century, with the current stone version dating to the 16th century. The engineering was considered so audacious that some architects predicted future ruin; however, the bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice, remaining the only point at which the Canal Grande could be crossed on foot, until 1854, when the first Accademia bridge was built.

If you’re able to navigate your way through hordes of tourists crawling over the bridge, you’ll enjoy superb views of the canal in both directions. Beyond the souvenir market stalls are the centuries-old markets that traditionally have served as a major showcase for all the fruits and vegetables grown in the islands of the lagoon and also for the fresh fish from the bordering Adriatic Sea – you can even see boats from such islands as Burano and Pellestrina, arriving at the Rialto to unload their catch of the day. There are, of course, many shops and restaurants on and around the bridge area, overpriced as they usually are, but tucked in the interior so as to not ruin the exterior views. Just by the bridge are also the water bus stops, as well as groups of persuasive gondoliers who just happen to have an empty gondola with your name all over it!

All in all, the Rialto Bridge is as picturesque as one would expect, but mostly a great place to view the Grand Canal and to just soak up the vibe of Venice and all its beauty.

Tip:
Evening is by far the best time to visit – much quieter and looks stunning.
2
Palazzo dei Camerlenghi

2) Palazzo dei Camerlenghi

The palace was built in the fifteenth century and finished in 1488. From 1525 to 1528 it was enlarges under design by Guglielmo dei Grigi, who was inspired by the style of Mauro Codussi and Pietro Lombardo. It was the seat of several financial magistrates, including the Camerlenghi whom it takes its name from, the Consuls of the Traders and the Supra-Consuls of the Traders. Due to this function, the lower floor was used as a jail for the insolvents: the location near the crowded Rialto Bridge served as an admonition for the people passing there.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Chiesa San Giacomo di Rialto

3) Chiesa San Giacomo di Rialto

Chiesa San Giacomo di Rialto is thought to be the oldest church in Venice, firstly built in the 5th century at the time of the first settlement of the island. The present building was erected for the use of the merchants of the Rialto markets around the 12th century. It has a large 15th century clock above the entrance, a useful item in the Venetian business district but regarded as a standing joke for its inaccuracy. The Gothic portico is one of the few surviving examples in Venice. It has a Latin cross plan with a central dome. Inside, the Veneto-Byzantine capitals on the six columns of ancient Greek marble date from the 11th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Osteria Bancogiro

4) Osteria Bancogiro

Osteria Bancogiro is a great place to taste real Venetian food. This restaurant and coffee bar is located in one of the best locations in Venice, just between the market and the Rialto bridge. There are plenty of fish dishes on the menu and some of the dishes are Venice classics. You can also enjoy a cocktail at very reasonable prices despite its great location. The terrace is open in warm weather so you can get a nice view of the Grand Canal.

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 9:00 - 24:00
5
Chiesa San Giovanni Elemosinario

5) Chiesa San Giovanni Elemosinario

Chiesa San Giovanni Elemosinario was founded in 1071 and then rebuilt by Antonio Scarpagnino after the Rialto fire. It is the most interesting example of Gothic architecture that has remained comparatively intact in Venice. This small church has, on its high altar, a painting of the titular saint, San Giovanni, by Titian. In the left aisle there is a fragment of a bas-relief dating from the Middle Ages, representing the Night of the Birth of Christ.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Mercato di Rialto (Rialto Food Market)

6) Mercato di Rialto (Rialto Food Market)

Well, this is a place that you can not help but visit if you want to experience Venice in its entirety. Here as in mostly every other city, the market is one of the pulsating centers of the local community. The Rialto Market in particular embodies all the genuineness and joy of the Venetians and testifies to their vitality, which is especially important in a city too often mistaken for a sort of open-air theme park!

To characterize this market, one would have to start with the uniqueness of the context in which it is inserted, its many stalls giving directly out onto the Grand Canal since the early 11th century. Adding to that are the very unique descriptive signs born from the fantasy of the greengrocers; hence, as well as the origin and price, you will find yourself reading the characteristics of a product and sometimes its application tips – all written in a very colorful style.

Aside from admiring the colorful stalls and enjoying the daily life of residents, you can of course buy flowers, spices, seasonal produce, fresh meat and local seafood – which, by the way, looks quite amazing and is reasonably priced. While few common fishes like salmon are recognizable, most are an exotic sight. You'll find the cuttlefish used for the famous black ink pasta only available in Venice, and there is also a large variety of shellfish. Simply being able to see them is a feast for the eyes, and certainly gives many photo opportunities!

As a small note of tourist etiquette, however, do remember that this is a “real” market, where “real” residents come to do the “real” spending – so try to hinder their activity as little as possible. And keep in mind to ask before you touch the food!

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sat: 7:30am-1:30pm
7
Mercatino dell'Antiquariato di Rialto

7) Mercatino dell'Antiquariato di Rialto

Mercatino dell'Antiquariato di Rialto takes place every second Monday and Sunday of the month, inside the Pescheria di Rialto - Rialto Fish Market, Venetian district of San Polo. Offering a vast range of antique and vintage merchandise, the market if full of anything from Murano glass, mirrors, furniture, and paintings, to dolls, vintage watches, prints and various memorabilia. The market features a large number of vendors with equally interesting offers.

Operation Hours: every second Sunday & Monday of the month, except August
8
Emilio Ceccato

8) Emilio Ceccato

If you want to buy a real Venetian product, you should visit the shop of Emilio Ceccato. This shop specializes in gondolier's outfits. It is located very close to the Rialto Bridge (address: "Sotoportego di Rialto"). Many Venetian gondoliers shop there - not only for hats but also, for instance, for those typical sweaters with crosswise stripes. The price for such a hat is around 30 Euro. The shop is open daily (except Sundays) from 9.30 up to 18:00.

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The Rialto area first appeared in documents dating back to the 9th century. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1514; the only structure left standing was the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. Today Rialto is a busy shopping district with a daily vegetable and fish market, several historic sights, plus a wide variety of shopping and dining options. Part 2 of the Rialto Bridge walk takes...  view more

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