The Rialto Bridge is one of Venice 's timeless symbols and marks the geometrical centre of the city. It is the oldest of the three bridges that span the Grand Canal.
The Rialto became the hub of a great trading city containing the main trade authorities, private and public banking houses, and marine insurance agencies. As a major port between East and West, Venice was a cosmopolitan city. Men of all nations, merchants from all over world met and mingled beneath the Rialto arcades. Foreign communities were granted facilities in the city by the state itself. Visible from the Rialto Bridge is the former warehouse of the German merchants.
Today the Rialto area houses the colourful stalls of the fruit, vegetable and fish market, being one of the most picturesque and liveliest places in the city.