The area around the Rialto Bridge is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and has always been the hub of Venice's commercial district. The bridge was the first structure to span the Grand Canal, and from the 12th to the 19th century it was the only link between the two parts of the city. The present bridge was built between 1588 and 1591 to a design by the appropriately named Antonio Da Ponte. Samuel Prout's view was made from in front of the Ca Farsetti, looking north past the Palazzo Loredan and the Palazzo Bembo to the bridge. The campanile of San Bartolomeo can be seen above the rooftops.