The Rialto has long been the commercial core of Venice, and is
famed as the place where the first bridge over the Grand Canal was
built. The original wooden bridge collapsed under the strain of the
crowds gathered here to admire a wedding procession. It was
replaced by the (sturdier) single stone arch design of Antonio da
Ponte, and built in 1588. Today the 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.
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