The flag of Venice

Walking from bridge to bridge we'd every now and again pass a window, two or three sporting the very flamboyant and easy-to-spot Venice flag with its deep red background, familiar golden winged lion and six tails fluttering in the breeze. The lion has his one paw on an open book with the Latin inscription: 'Peace to you Mark my Evangelist'; Mark, of course, referring to the patron saint of Venice. The six 'tails' symbolise the half-a-dozen sestieri or districts of Venice. The flag one sees most commonly on buildings and in souvenir shops is a simplified version of the official Region of Veneto flag, which is similar in design but differs slightly in detail and colour, and generally is, well, a little less flashy than the touristy one. It’s a flag that certainly fits well into the Venetian flair for aristocratic elegance. No boring stripes on a rectangular piece of linen here! And the Venetians love showing it off, as we saw all day today.

Venice flag

Bridge Fourteen - Ponte del Cristo

As we walk from bridge to bridge I'm getting more and more fascinated by the variety of designs found in the iron rails of the bridges. There's so much variation and styles in them. So I just had to take a minute to look carefully at the arty bits of the next bridge, the Ponte del Cristo.

Ponte dei Christo

There are two flower motifs in the wrought iron work, one a pointed three-leaf bloom and another in the shape of a tulip. The railings  also have cast iron, sculpted knobs on top that add nicely to the finishing. 

Therein lies the luring appeal of Venice for its millions of visitors - architecture and structures in the city are never merely functional; they're miniature works of art that permeate every corner of the island. Walking around Venice is like wandering through a very large and extended open air history of art installation, small wonders abound around every corner.

Bridge Thirteen - Ponte Santa Maria Nova

It's a short walk to bridge thirteen, the red brick Ponte Santa Maria Nova.  We walk across it, over the Rio dei Miracoli and on to the small square in front of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli church, one of the must-see churches in Venice. 

 Ponte Santa Maria Nova

The church's neat marble facade speaks clearly of the result of ten years of restoration done by the restoration organisation Save Venice, which has funded literally hundreds of similar projects during its existence. Those ubiquitous construction cranes on the Venice horizon and scaffolding spoiling tourists' photos of the city's well-known attractions may not be aesthetically pleasing, but they're necessary and do a good job of keeping Venice's precious heritage in shape, as the Miracoli clearly shows.

Santa Maria Nova

One side of the bridge is adorned with three coats of arms, commonly seen on bridges and in all probability belonging to aristocratic families who lived in the area. A similar plaque on the opposite bridge wall, seen in the bridge photo above is blank. Were similar coats of arms chiselled off by someone who carried a grudge? 

Santa Maria Nova

Across the canal there's once again that inviting  sight welcoming all travelers just finishing off an extended church visit: An open-air cafe, waiting for footsore visitors to sit down for coffee and perhaps something sweet and tasty. But we resist the temptation: There are still more than eighty bridges to cross!