Bridge Thirty-One - Ponte dei Barcaroli o del Cuoridoro

Bridges are a favourite stopping place for Venice's beggars.

Like all cities the world over Venice has its share of the poor and pitiful using the streets to appeal to the charity of passers-by (especially since many of them are well-heeled tourists). At Ponte dei Barcaroli o del Cuoridoro (Barcaroli is a nearby gondola station, and Cuoridoro is a kind of antique leather-based wall decoration) a gypsy-looking lady was sitting at the base of the bridge with a small ice cream cup she used as a collection box by her side, and we observed her from a distance for a while. She didn't look particularly down-and-out or poverty-stricken to my South African eyes and her fund-raising efforts were quite low-key, to put it mildly. While she wasn't dressed straight out of a fashion shop, what she wore in fact spoke of a certain elegance. Television's What to Wear show where they help people with impaired dress sense couldn't lay a finger on her. So I decided that she was mainly here to warm herself in the early spring sunlight and make a few Euros on the side. She was fully part of Venice's colourful palette of life.

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