The Rialto Bridge, the first urban centre of Venice. It comes from the latin “rivus altus”, deep canal, referring to the Grand Canal. Dating back to 1180, it was initially a series of boats with wooden planks placed on top. It was then built in wood resting on stilts. However, on June 15th 1310, Bajamonte Tiepolo and other conspirators of a failed coup d’etat, broke the bridge to stop the Doge’s pursuing troops. It was then rebuilt as it was, but in 1444, during a visit by the Marquess of Ferrara, the brdige collapsed under the weight of the crowd who had gathered to see the parade along the Grand Canal. In mid-16th century a public competition was set to rebuild the bridge in stone; Sansovino, Palladio and other famous architects proposed classical projects with several arches. But the task went to the Venetian Antonio da Ponte, the only one to propose a single arch, and indeed he built it as we see it today. By unifying the two parts of the city on either side of the Grand Canal in a single arch movement, the Rialto Bridge has become the symbol of Venice’s unity and uniqueness.