Bridge Fifty-Nine - Ponte Briati

To be honest, we weren't planning on stopping at the Ponte Briati on our way, but something came up, or more accurately, "something sailed by". It was a boat rowed by six young girls, and what I'm sure were their rowing teachers.

Ponte briati

It's only logical that rowing would be Venice's official sport, seeing that most famies own some sort of boat, and kids are taught boating skills from an early age (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some of them arrived home in a boat, straight from the maternity hospital). We stood by as they floated past the bridge at a leisurely pace, probably taking a break from practising for the next regatta, one of the many held every year on the canals and lagoon. I'm a born-and-bred landlubber, and it always fascinates me how people manage to stay afloat in one of those. Like I said, it must be in the genes of Venetians who've lived with water and boats for as long as they can remember.

And who was Briati, after whom the bridge is named? Giuseppe Briati was a famous eighteenth-century glassmaker on the island of Murano. Legend has it that he travelled to Bohemia where he stole some of the glass-masters' secrets and used them in his factory which operated in the neighbourhood in days gone by. Having a glass-making business in Venice itself was a very special privilege - glass furnaces had been 'banished' to Murano to prevent fires that would have been common in an age where wood was the primary means of construction. We glanced around for anything that said 'glass' but there was nothing in sight. Just the bridge named after a once-famous entrepreneur.

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