Rialto Bridge © gnuckx
One of Venice's most iconic landmarks, the Rialto Bridge has long been the commercial core of Venice and is often described as the heart of the city. It is the oldest bridge spanning the Grand Canal, and is one of only four that do. The structure standing today is over 400 years old, but it isn't the original bridge: the original wooden bridge collapsed under the strain of crowds gathered here to admire a wedding procession long ago, legend has it; it was replaced by the (sturdier) single stone arch design of Antonio da Ponte, built in 1588. Whether you're sailing under it, or walking over it, the Rialto Bridge is a must-see in Venice. Today the Rialto area still resembles the bustling fruit and vegetable market of former times, but is additionally swamped with tourists and accompanying souvenir shops and gift kiosks, and it is possible to find almost anything in the markets these days. It gets very crowded but is definitely worth a visit and will delight those who enjoy bustling markets with surprises round every corner. If you are visiting Rialto to take pictures of the bridge or explore the area for the first time it is best to go early in the morning when the throngs of visitors won't disturb you. There are lots of lovely restaurants and cafes in the area as well.