Bridge Twenty-One - Ponte dell'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. We 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 exit the square and make our way to the next bridge, the Ponte dell'Accademia dei Pittori located just behind the busy San Marco vaporetto stop. On the way we passed the legendary Harry's Bar with its €30 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 cliché 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 dell'Accademia's narrow stone landing, shielding our eyes from the sun while peering out over the lagoon to where the island of Giudecca's waterfront row of palaces and churches drew a thin line across the horizon.  The Ponte dell'Accademia's name refers to an art school that was once nearby, which was apparently attended by quite a number of Venetian artists who became famous in their lifetimes.


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  2. This should be called Ponte dell'Accademia dei Pittori to distinguish it from the more famous Accademia bridge over the Grand Canal. Andrew

    1. Thanks, quite right. I've updated the bridge name. Ihave it right in the e-book, must've been a blog gremlin that slipped in.