Hidden treasures

The daring stone high reliefs of Palazzo dei Camerlenghi in Rialto

Local Traditions

The daring stone high reliefs of Palazzo dei Camerlenghi in Rialto

The Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal is undoubtedly one of the iconic monuments in Venice.

The original structure resting on wooden poles was built in the second half of the twelfth century and was then replaced by a structural wooden bridge in around 1250.

After collapsing several times over the centuries, at the beginning of the fifteenth century there began to be talks about building a stone bridge, so in 1551 Venetian authorities issued a tender: all the greatest architects of the time participated, but 37 years passed between the approval of the project and the conclusion of the bridge construction work. Finally, between 1588 and 1591, the bridge was completed by Antonio da Ponte.

It is therefore understandable that many people had become sceptical about the completion of the construction of the bridge... After having completed construction work, Venetians turned such unfounded mistrust into a great joke: the two high reliefs you can see at the entrance of the nearby Palazzo dei Camerlenghi (built between 1525 and 1528) became the symbol of the appropriate ridicule for the detractors of the Republic's ability, whether they were men or women. According to the local tradition they represent a humble woman who sentenced: 'When the bridge is finished, my vagina will catch fire’; to which a humble man would have contested: ‘The bridge will be finished when the penis grows a nail’.

And the two high reliefs represent precisely a woman with a burning vagina and a man with a fingernail penis!

The Rialto Bridge is undoubtedly one of the places to be included in your visit to Venice... even better if accompanied by a local tourist guide who will engage you in exploring this beautiful city, showing you the least known and crowded places!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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