The Medieval Rialto: The Transformation of an Area in the Developing City
The Rialto area, where the church of San Giacomo stands, has a central role in medieval Venice: a market place from the earliest centuries that developed during the Middle Ages. De ’Barbari documents the medieval quarter in 1500 before the fire of 1514. The territory was already characterized in the 11th century by long shop buildings. The churches are witnessed from the 11th century (S. Giovanni Elemosinario) and from the 12th (S. Giacomo and S. Matteo). In the 12th century the area was almost completely built. In the 13th century, a stream was buried creating the main road, connected with the Ruga of the Oresi, and the bridge was built, a fundamental link for the entire town. Offices and public buildings are scattered around the area. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries attempts were made to reorganize it. The Loggia, (disappeared in the 16th century), at the foot of the bridge, had a central role: the trading center was also decorated with frescoes (historical episodes and globe).