Bridge Five - Ponte della Paglia

Nobody really pays too much attention to Challenge bridge number five, the Ponte della Paglia, yet almost every single visitor to Venice pauses on it to get a view of the iconic and legendary Bridge of Sighs, the staple of every package tour itinerary that visits the city. Quite ironic, won't you say?

The Ponte della Paglia's name refers to boats filled with straw that passed by here during the time when horses and donkeys were still part of everyday life in Venice. The centre of the bridge offers an excellent view of the famous Bridge of Sighs, which incidentally isn't one of the 100 Venice Bridges Challenge since it is only accessible from inside the Doge's Palace, a building which the bridge connects to the old prison next door.

There's an interesting white bas-relief on the side of the bridge, called 'Madonna of the Gondoliers'. Small shrines such as this are fairly common in Venice, but this one has a small depiction of a gondola with its seat area covered, below the image of the Madonna.

The Ponte de la Paglia, being adjacent to the Ponte del Vin on the popular Riva degli Schiavoni walkway, carries thousands upon thousands of pairs of feet every day, and I was relieved that we passed this way early in the morning, avoiding the rush.

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