The Acqua Alta Bookshop

On our way to the the next bridge on the Challenge, the Ponte Minich, we passed by Venice's signature Acqua Alta bookshop. It's exactly what the best second-hand bookshops should be: stranger-than-most and whimsical with a musty smell and quiet corners for reading and discovering unusual reads. Throw in an eccentric owner, a canal-side back entrance and gondolas serving as storage space for books, and you have the sort of place you can lose yourself in for a morning.
Aqua Alta Bookshop
Unfortunately there was no time for browsing (not even for books about the bridges of Venice...) but Adeline had a quick walk up the 'book staircase' in the back courtyard, which I think it’s safe to say is the only one of its kind in the world.
For a city with the sort of 'romantic-olde-world-sight-around-every-corner' character that Venice oozes it’s surprising there aren’t more bookshops with a Dickensian character in Venice like the Acqua Alta. There are more than a few shops selling books, but most are specialty or rather ordinary-looking neighbourhood bookshops.  The Acqua Alta Bookshop is trademark Venice, and singularly so.

Bridge Twelve - Ponte del Piovan o del Volto

The name of the next bridge, Ponte del Piovan, refers to the 'piovani' - vicars, priests or church officials who once lived in the area. It's located on the same canal as the previous bridge, the Rio de la Panada.

Looking around the bridge I noticed an iron ladder running from the water up to the top of the bridge. However, there was no entrance to the ladder from the top, the iron railing closed it off. Strange. Must be a remnant from an older version of the bridge. Like most things in Venice, it's probably undergone a good number of renovations in the past few hundred years, with the latest renovation never quite succeeding in obliterating the past completely.

Ponte del Piovan o del Volto

Notice the red blanket reflecting in the canal water. As you'll see in many of the bridge photographs taken during the Challenge, Venice is a city of canal reflections, which one can see as a metaphor for a watery Venetian mask - hinting at what lies beyond.