Bridges Nineteen and Twenty - Ponte dei Consorzi and the Ponte della Canonica

There was a clear buzz among the tourists milling around the next two bridges, the Ponte dei Consorzi and the Ponte della Canonica. Looking 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 del 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 della Canonica is a broad, solid stone bridge with sturdy ornamental stone balustrades. It has existed since the eleventh century in some form or other 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 is a favourite haunt for gondoliers soliciting business from tourists  as well as a major route 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 dei 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.

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