Once you arrive in Venice, one of the first things you would like to do is certainly visit the majestic Rialto Bridge.
However, besides crossing the bridge, there are so many things you could do near the Ponte di Rialto: let's reveal our top 10 of the things to do and visit nearby.
Would you join us in this amazing trip?
Top 10 things to do near the amazing Rialto Bridge: our travel tips
Among the many bridges of Venice, the Rialto Bridge is certainly one of the most stunning.
Crossing the Grand Canal, and connecting San Polo to San Marco, it has been the center of the city for almost one thousand year and its history is one of the most troubled you'll ever read (do you know that before being built as a stone bridge it was actually a pontoon bridge!).
So, coming here will be an amazing journey throughout the history of the city, one of the most important maritime powers of the last centuries.
Here follows what we recommend you to do near the Rialto Bridge.
10. Of course, visit the nearby Rialto Market
The bridge takes its name from the nearby market. In fact, as we told you in the history of the market, the market was here long before Venetians even thought about building a structural bridge.
The market has been for centuries the true heart of Venice, the arrival point for goods coming from all over the world. We are not just speaking about vegetables and fruit, meat or fish. This was actually the trading place for gold, spices, precious metals, silk and so on.
Everything coming from outside had to pass from here.
Even nowadays the Rialto Market is a great place for shopping. You can buy high quality and fresh products (especially the catch of the day) and also do amazing shopping, as you'll discover in the next chapter.
9. Do some high quality shopping in the many shops of the Ponte di Rialto
One of the best places in Venice to do some high quality shopping is certainly Rialto. Even if it's one of the most crowded places in Venice, in fact, also Venetians like doing their shopping here.
Not only in the two rows of shops on the bridge, but also in the many shops located in the surrounding areas. Most of them are historical places and display products of the Venetian hand craftsmanship.
Here you can buy golden jewels, Murano glasses, as well as organic cotton clothes. This area is full of great shops providing the best Made in Venice and Made in Italy products.
Of course, buying something here is often not so cheap.
8. Stroll around the many stalls in front of the bridge
Rialto bridge is not famous only for high quality shopping. In this area, in fact, you can also buy many souvenirs.
You can find any kind of T-shirts, postcards, magnets, Rialto bridge paintings and so on.
It's a nice place to buy something that will remind you of Venice forever but that of course will let you save some money for many more adventures.
7. Visit the first Church of Venice
Do you know that what is considered the first church of Venice stands very close to the world famous Rialto Bridge?
It's the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, facing the Campo of the same name. It's possible that the church was actually built when the market started to grow.
Of the original building, the portico, an example of a structure common in early Venetian churches, is still preserved. The facade is in terracotta and has a large clock in the center built in the first half of the 15th century.
You can visit it also inside, but check the opening hours first.
6. Visit the statue of the Hunchback in Campo San Giacomo di Rialto
Close to the bridge, there's the statue of the Hunchback of the Rialto (Gobbo di Rialto in Italian).
It is a marble statue of a hunchback in front of the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto. It has been here since the middle of the XVI century, and it has been used as a podium for official proclamations.
However, it is also famous as it has been used as a finishing point for punishments for minor crimes, especially thieves, who suffered the punishment of flogging.
The culprit was stripped and whipped from San Marco Square to Rialto, and to end the torture he had to kiss the statue. Since the Church considered this gesture a pagan act, a metal cross (called Croce dei frustài, or "Cross of the whipped") was placed in the adjacent pillar in 1545 as a new spot to be kissed to end the punishment. Traces of the cross, now gone, are still visible engraved in the pillar.
5. Visit the Rialto Market early in the morning
Yeah, we have already mentioned the Market.
However, going here early in the morning is a completely different experience.
From 7.00/7.30 AM from Tuesday to Friday, you can see the fishermen preparing their stalls at the Rialto Fish Market. You could see them displaying the catch of the day and you could also talk to them and ask about some typical Venetian recipes.
4. Visit the elegant Campo Sant'Aponal
It is a small space full of atmosphere that during the day is a bustling place of transit dominated by the bell tower and brick Gothic facade of the former Sant'Aponal Church.
If you come here at night, instead, you will find that Campo Sant'Aponal becomes an elegant place, like a quiet Venetian living room, where you can finally rest and have your aperitif or dinner.
3. Experience a gondola ride across the Grand Canal
One of the most typical experiences to do in Venice is certainly to have your gondola ride.
As you are visiting a floating city, what's better than exploring it from its natural element?
In case you want some recommendation from a local point of view, we have prepared a full guide to the Venetian gondolas.
2. Go to the Fondaco dei Tedeschi rooftop and enjoy the view of the Rialto bridge and the Grand Canal
If you want to have a breathtaking view of the Ponte di Rialto and the Grand Canal, book your entrance ticket to the rooftop of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi.
It is a luxurious mall next to the bridge: on the top of it, there's an amazing terrace where you can admire the Venetian skyline and take beautiful pictures.
Just remember to book the entrance in advance (by the time we are writing this article the entrance is still free of charge but you have to book your ticket anyway).
You will thank us later for the amazing view you will enjoy.
1. Take your time and have a nice aperitif facing the Grand Canal
One of the most amazing things you could do in this area, in our opinion, is to have an aperitif facing the Grand Canal.
For Italian people, and Venetians as well, the aperitif is almost a sacred moment.
While doing an aperitif, you have to do nothing more than enjoying your moment of pure relaxation. You choose your favorite drink (Venetians usually choose the local Spritz or a glass of wine) and then you choose your cicchetto (we have written an entire article about their deliciousness!).
So, what can be better than selecting a local bacaro (do you know what a bacaro really is?) and have your nice aperitif in front of the majestic Rialto bridge?
What else would you do close to the Rialto Bridge?
Venice has plenty of things to do and visit. In every corner of the city you can find churches, museums, statues and places that simply remind you of legends and stories of the past.
We hope you enjoy our tour of the best things to do close to the Ponte di Rialto, and we hope you come here soon!