Bridge Twenty-Four - Ponte dei Dai, and the "Flower Bridge"

To be honest, the next bridge on our list we had to cross, the Ponte dei Dai, was a bridge that's almost identical to the one we'd crossed a moment ago, axcept for an interesting walkway leading up to it.



At this point we veered a little from our pre-programmed route.


We spent more time at an interesting-looking bridge right next to the Ponte dei Dai that wasn't on the schedule: An unusually narrow, flat wood and metal bridge that lead straight into a pretty embroidery shop. It's obvious this was the shop's own bridge and not an 'official' one due to its unusual design and the fact that there was a lamp post erected on it, as well as the bright red flowers in the plant holders attached to the railings. We couldn't find a name for this attractive-looking bridge, so we just called it 'The Red Flower Bridge'.




Bridge Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three - Ponte Tron o Piovola and Ponte Cavaletto

Now it's a brisk walk through the crowded Calle Larga de l'Ascension, past the high-end fashion shops to the busy Ponte Tron o Piovola. This stone bridge was named after the aristocratic Tron family who lived in the area before the Orseolo Basin, an open stretch of water that functions as a sort of parking lot for gondolas, was developed in the mid-1800s.



After weaving through the tourists crossing the Ponte Tron we swung back onto the Ponte del Cavalletto, a stone bridge with iron railings just outside Piazza San Marco.




From the top of the Cavalletto bridge we had a nice view of the Orseolo Basin, and for a while we stood and watched the gondoliers lounging on their boats or going about their daily tasks. 


Gondoliering is traditionally a men's club - it was only recently that the first female gondolier joined the exclusively male club. We crossed one hundred bridges by the end of the day but she was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it was her day off.

Bridge Twenty-One - Ponte de l'Accademia dei Pittori

We twist through a few alleys and around a corner or two and onto the cavernous  Piazza San Marco, filled as usual with visitors from all corners of the planet pointing cameras, feeding the pigeons, browsing the souvenir stands and sitting in the gradually warming sunshine having something to eat and drink in what really is one of the most beautiful city squares in the world. Us on the other hand passed through quite quickly, only stopping to listen briefly to a quintet outside the famous eatery Florian playing a jazzy tune. It would have been nice to take time to join the queues of visitors waiting to go to the top of the Campanile or wander around inside St Mark's Basilica, but that would have to wait - we've got eighty bridges left to cross before the end of the day!


We exited the square and make our way to the next bridge, the Ponte de l'Accademia dei Pittori located just behind the busy San Marco vaporetto stop. On the way we passed the legendary Harry's Bar with its thirty Euro cocktails; countless sidewalk souvenir stands claiming to sell authentic Venetian masks for seven Euro a piece; and stands selling sepia photographs and pretty little portraits  all depicting the same dozen standard scenic views that have made Venice famous. To call Venice tourism mostly cliche is not an overstatement. While the majority of Venice's streets and alleys are authentic, the twenty percent of Venice where eighty percent of the tourists remain during their visit (which includes the area we're in right now) is a sordid marketplace for the seedy and mundane. Sometimes it feels like the city is desperately, desperately clinging to that last straw that makes its existence worthwhile - the gullible tourist.



Nevertheless, there we were on top of the Ponte d'Accademia's narrow stone landing, shielding our eyes from the sun while peering out over the lagoon to where the island of Guidecca's waterfront rowof palaces and churches drew a thin line across the horizon.  The Ponte d'Accademia's name refers to an artist school that was once nearby, which was apparently attended by quite a number of Venetian artists who became famous in their lifetimes.



Bridges Nineteen and Twenty - Ponte de Consorzi and the Ponte de la Canonica

There was a clear buzz among the tourists milling around the next two bridges, the Ponte de Consorzi and the Ponte de la Canonica. Looking towards the down the canal towards the Venice lagoon in the distance the reason was plain to see: They offer a lovely view of the famous Bridge of Sighs, or as it's known in Italian, the Ponte de Sospiri, the one we saw from the Ponte de Vin earlier in the day. In addition they're located just off St Mark's Square, the the popular and undisputed 'I'll meet you on the square' place in Venice and everyone's favourite rendezvous point. The canal underneath the bridges is one big traffic jam with gondoliers, private boats and water taxis elbowing for space in the quite narrow waterway. It was the proverbial ant heap.


Ponte de La Canonica


The Ponte de la Canonica is a broad, solid stone bridge with sturdy ornamental stone balustrades that was built already in the eleventh century to provide a safe route for the Doge and his substantial procession during Easter. 'Canonica', his private religious advisors, lived in a building adjacent to the bridge. Today the Canonica bridge a a favourite haunt for gondoliers soliciting business from tourists  as well as a major point enrolee for people passing in and out of Piazza San Marco. We stood for a while watching the gondoliers on the bridge calling 'Gondolieri, gondolieri!' and the ones in their gondolas  on the canal rowing down the canal and ducking when they came to the private bridge, which is too low for them to pass under standing up.


The Ponte de Consorzi is a neat stone bridge that leads into a fancy Murano glass shop. Since it isn't quite 10am - the time most shops open in Venice - it hadn't opened its door for business yet.



The adjacent bridge is an iron structure which is unnamed, and has a sign written in English attached to the railing that implores people not to sit on its steps. From experience I estimate about half of all visitors to Venice don't speak any English beyond 'hello' and 'how much does it cost?', so I'm not sure it gets heeded that much though. Either way we didn't count it as one of the one hundred chosen ones. Not because of the rather unfriendly sign, but simply because it seems to be nameless.