The Rialto Bridge is the first one built across the Grand Canal. In the beginning it was a wooden drawbridge to permit sailing ships to sail from St. Marks Basin to Piazzale Roma area. Only in 1588 the bridge was rebuilt in a sort of white marble called istrian stone, a trademark for most of Venetian artworks (an opera by Arch. Antonio da Ponte) until 1854 the only one spanning across the Grand Canal.
It’ s 22 meters wide and 48 meters long a unique arcade 7,5 meters high, crowned by several smaller arcades it’ s crossed with three parallel staircases,
The one in the centre has double arcades on both sides, shops and stores are host below the archway, on the niches.
The Rialto area is well known for its famous market, open every day (Sunday closed), from San Polo area to the bridge. The market Is frequented mostly by venetian citizens, a continuous passage of people, boats and carriage of fruits, vegetables and fish make of it the most alive part of the city, many tipical trattoria and osterie, serving local wines and food can be founded around, simple but delicious dishes.
Venetian called it “Erbaria” and sice ever it has been the main marketplace of the city, in the past ( now the wholesale market has been moved to another part of the city) dozen and dozen of boats loaded with all kind of goodies from the islands and mainland cultivations. http://venice-tourism.com/en/places/san-polo-district/rialto-and-its-market