Ponte di Rialto, Venice, at Night
I haven't taken many photos of the Rialto Bridge, I suppose because I prefer to avoid the throngs of tourists that it attracts. For this (handheld) image I first created a black and white version, then added the original color as a new layer with the opacity reduced, and balanced the result.
The bridge has always been one of the city's most important features. Deborah Howard succinctly summarizes the history in her "The Architectural History of Venice":
"Like London, Venice had only one bridge across the main waterway. This was the Ponte di Rialto, situated at that most significant geographical landmark, the lowest bridging point -- that is to say, the most seaward position at which a bridge could easily be built. It was also the uppermost point to which sea-going vessels could navigate. The original pontoon bridge was replaced at the end of the fourteenth century by a permanent wooden structure. This bridge came to a dramatic end in 1450 when it collapsed under the weight of crowds of spectators during the visit of Emperor Frederick III of Austria. The bridge was rebuilt, once again in wood, with a drawbridge in the centre, this time ined with shops, like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. This picturesque structure is vividly depicted in Carpaccio's famous painting of the 'Miracle of the True Cross' dated 1494. The present stone bridge, built by an architected named (most appropriately) Antonio da Ponte, dates from the end of the sixteenth century. The importance of the Rialto bridge to Venetians is indicated by the fact that the state had commissioned designs from architects as renowned as Michelangelo, Sansovino, Palladio and Vignola. Even da Ponte's relatively sober project cost the huge sum of 250,000 ducats."