Ponte dei Zogatoi

Although you won’t find this name written on any nizioeto—the characteristic black and white street signs you see all over the city—ask any Venetian directions to the Ponte dei Zogatoi and they will all oblige.

This is the name by which Venetians know the Ponte San Giovanni Grisostomo, not far from the Rialto, where there used to be a toy shop: zogatoi (giocattoli in standard Italian) is the Venetian word for toys. Today, sadly, the shop sells tourist souvenirs, but there is still a lego Dewey Duck (Donald Duck’s nephew is called Quo in Italian)  window above the shop to act as a memorial. For many Venetians he is a symbol of resistance against the ravages of mass tourism.

I have a further memory of the Ponte dei Zogatoi from my teenage years. Back in the 1980s there used to be an old man begging on the bridge. He never looked anything but happy and would say, ‘Buongiorno!’ with a wide smile to all passers-by. One day, I’d just bought a large pizza slice and was crossing the bridge. ‘Buon appetito!’ he called out to me. This had such a profound effect on me that the next day, I went and bought two pizza slices. You can guess what I did. The smile it brought to that old man’s face and his words of thanks will remain in my memory forever.

7 thoughts on “Ponte dei Zogatoi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s