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The first Rialto bridge was built around 1180 by the architect Nicolò Barattieri, already known in Venice.

Rialto was the nerve center of Venetian and international trade, in this area the merchants gathered to buy and sell merchandise. The liveliness of the area inspired many artists such as Pietro Aretino, who observed the market from Palazzo Bolani Erizzo and described it in his writings, or Vittore Carpaccio who painted the market area in The miracle of the relic of the Holy Cross.

The idea of ​​building a bridge in this very important area was born to make it easier for merchants to cross the Grand Canal, and thus reduce time and inconvenience.

The bridge - the first ever on the Grand Canal - was initially built by placing boats side by side and fixing wooden planks above them. Originally this bridge corresponded to the name of Quartarolo, which is the cost of the ferry that was previously used to access the area.

Later, between 1264 and 1265, the bridge was built of wood on stilts, but in 1310 it was destroyed by the conspirators of the insurrection led by Bajamonte Tiepolo fleeing the troops of the doge.

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