Bridge Eighty-Nine - Ponte dei Santi Apostoli

It's a swift walk keeping along this busy tourist highway we're on, across two small campiellos and through a dark sotoportego and here we find ourselves at the base of the stone steps of Ponte dei Santi Apostoli.

Standing at the exit of the sotoportego and looking across the bridge we see the signature campanile of the Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli di Cristo, the Church of the Holy Apostles of Christ. The campanile's very unusual clock face has a shiny, flaring golden sunset in the centre of a set of numerals that are quite confusing at first glance. It runs from one to twelve downwards, and then from one to twelve upwards, so it's a sort of 'double clock'. It's as if it shows the time of day twice. Intriguing. A few times on the Challenge I've been sorry I didn't convince a local expert to accompany us to explain Venice's strange phenomena, such as this strange clock-face to us. Or perhaps that would have spoilt the mysterious appeal Venice holds for outsiders.

Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli di Cristo is one of eight churches started in the seventh century by St Magnus, and according to legend he was guided to this location by a vision of twelve cranes, and subsequently built the church here.

The campo that leads from the bridge to the church itself is a hub of stalls, sidewalk caf├ęs and a few trees sprouting early spring green that makes for a friendly atmosphere in the fading daylight. A man was watching the bridge traffic from a window above the bridge, and for a moment I really, really wished to live up there, looking down onto the bridge and occasionally shouting a greeting and exchanging a few words with passers-by I recognised.

I wondered if he realised how privileged he was to wake to up the sight of the campanile every day, or whether he'd gotten used to it and mused on why countless tourists like us paused and stared in wonder.

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