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Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Connecting the sestieri of San Marco and San Polo, it has been rebuilt several times since its first construction as a pontoon bridge in 1173, is now a significant tourist attraction in the city; the first dry crossing of the Grand Canal was a pontoon bridge built in 1181 by Nicolò Barattieri. It was called the Ponte della Moneta because of the mint that stood near its eastern entrance; the development and importance of the Rialto market on the eastern bank increased traffic on the floating bridge, so it was replaced in 1255 by a wooden bridge. This structure had two inclined ramps meeting at a movable central section, that could be raised to allow the passage of tall ships; the connection with the market led to a change of name for the bridge. During the first half of the 15th century, two rows of shops were built along the sides of the bridge; the rents brought an income to the State Treasury. Maintenance was vital for the timber bridge.

It was burnt in the revolt led by Bajamonte Tiepolo in 1310. In 1444, it collapsed under the weight of a crowd rushing to see the marriage of the Marquis of Ferrera and it collapsed again in 1524; the idea of rebuilding the bridge in stone was first proposed in 1503. Several projects were considered over the following decades. In 1551, the authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the Rialto Bridge, among other things. Plans were offered by famous architects, such as Jacopo Sansovino and Vignola, but all involved a Classical approach with several arches, judged inappropriate to the situation. Michelangelo was considered as designer of the bridge; the present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, began to be constructed in 1588 and was completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico, the covered ramps carry rows of shops; the engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin.

The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice. Today, the Bridge is one of the top tourism attractions in Venice, it was called Shylock's bridge in Robert Browning's poem "A Toccata of Galuppi's". Miracle of the Relic of the Cross at the Ponte di Rialto Rialto Bridge at Structurae Satellite image from Google Maps

Van Buren County Courthouse (Iowa)

The Van Buren County Courthouse located in Keosauqua, United States, was built in 1843. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 as a part of the County Courthouses in Iowa Thematic Resource, it is the only building the county has used as its courthouse, it is the oldest courthouse in Iowa. In 1845 the courthouse served as the location for a trial resulting in the first death penalty in Iowa history. Van Buren County was established on December 7, 1836; the first meeting of the county court and officials was held the following spring in Farmington, Iowa. However, the Wisconsin territorial legislature—which Iowa was a part of until 1838—changed the county seat to the village of Rochester in December, 1837. Territorial Governor Henry Dodge vetoed the change so an election was held in 1838 to settle the matter; the voters chose Keosauqua, required to supply $5,000 in materials and land for the construction of a county courthouse. The Van Buren County commissioners accepted a bid of $6,500 from James Hall and John Fairman on May 30, 1840 for construction of the courthouse, with Sewall Kenny and Henry King named as building agents.

However, early the following January the commissioners relieved the agents of their duties and named Edwin Manning to finish the construction. This was done in September 1843 at a final cost of $6,712 dollars. Edwin Manning would build the Hotel Manning in Keosauqua listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the finished Greek Revival-style building was one of the largest west of the Mississippi River for that time period. The style is typical of Iowa's pre-Civil War courthouses; the framework of the courthouse was constructed of native oak from the area as well as locally manufactured brick for the exterior. Iron truss rods were installed in the building to provide further strength; the exterior walls are 22 inches thick on 18 inches on the second floor. Locally harvested walnut completed most of the interior and two circular staircases; the courthouse included a 10 feet square tower rising another 16 feet above the second floor however it was removed in the mid-1800s. The circular walnut staircases were removed and replaced by the single one presently in use.

Still in use, the Van Buren County courthouse received a major interior restoration over a two-year period between 1981 and 1983, improving safety while preserving much of the original look and feel. The exterior of the building was renovated in 1997 and included a ramp to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. While still serving as an active courtroom, the building features historical displays, photos of former judges and maps; the county office building, located south of the courthouse, is well over a century old having been constructed in 1896

Pretty Things (2001 film)

Pretty Things is a 2001 French drama film directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner and based on Virginie Despentes's 1998 novel Les Jolies Choses. It won the Prix Michel d'Ornano at the 2001 Deauville American Film Festival. In the film, Marion Cotillard portrays twins of opposite characters and Marie, she was nominated for a César Award for Most Promising Actress for her performance. Marion Cotillard as Marie / Lucie Stomy Bugsy as Nicolas Patrick Bruel as Jacques Titoff as Sébastien Ophélie Winter as Jessica Tony Amoni as Steve Matthieu Touboul as Martin Olivier Granier as The father Aude Brenner as The mother Nikita Lespinasse as Heidi Guy Amram as Fred Martin Amic as Arthur Axelle Renoir as The journalist Clémence Roussillon as Young Marie Anna Roussillon as Young Lucie Pretty Things on IMDb Pretty Things at Rotten Tomatoes Pretty Things on Facebook