Andrea Bocelli Sings Opera Atop Gem of Renaissance Art Rialto Bridge in Venice

The Piazza San Marco may be more famous, but the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is the true heart of Venice. 

With its low arch and distinctive arcades, the gleaming bridge spanning the Grand Canal is one of Venice’s most photographed attractions Rialto Bridge.

More than 130 people including restorers, workers and technicians who, in about 80,000 hours of work and thanks to the installation of 5,500 square meters of scaffolding, have restored a total area of ​​5,000 square meters of the bridge to its former glory of Rialto, in Venice.

Bocelli sang the famous Puccini aria “Nessun Dorma” during a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony, like the Grand Canal’s stream of gondolas, water taxis, and barges passed underneath.

The $6 million head-to-toe restorations of the bridge, funded by Diesel founder Renzo Rosso, was completed in 2019 after beginning in 2015, organizers said. But a planned inauguration ceremony twice had to be delayed because of Covid-19.

The Rialto Bridge’s 7.5-meter arch was designed to allow passage of galleys, and the massive structure was built on some 12,000 wooden pilings that still support the bridge more than 400 years later.

“It’s a piece of history, it’s an open-air museum.”

The restoration also involved the flooring, the roofs of the shops lining the bridge, and the balustrades.

Meaning either “deep river” or “high ground”, in the 9th century Rivoalto was the name of the area which later became known as Venezia. Situated at approximately the halfway point of the Grand Canal, this area is the geographic center of Venice, and also the Grand Canal’s narrowest point. It was therefore the best place to build a bridge connecting the two sides of the city, and until the 19th century, Rialto was the only bridge to make this connection.

The first Rialto Bridge was built on pontoons in the late 12th century, then rebuilt in wood in 1265. The current structure was built in just three years, between 1588 and 1591.

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