Veniceblog reader, Celina Rostam, was the first person to successfully identify the spot depicted in the mystery photo. It's in Cannereggio, off Strada Nova. Not only have I crossed that bridge - Ponte Pasqualigo - hundreds and hundreds of times, but I always used to enter the Canal Grande beneath it whenever returning from the northern lagoon in my boat. Here's the map Celina sent me, followed by a blurry, heavily enlarged photo she had taken from the window of a nearby hotel. Click on the images for enlargements.
The church in the background is S. Felice. All my reference books showed its splendid front facade (by M. Codussi), not the campanile or side of the church shown in the photo. Hence I never put one and one together. What really threw me, though, was the tall building in the left foreground in the antique picture. It no longer exists, replaced by the one story building seen above. This was the site of the former Standa department store, and now, the new (and controversial) Billa grocery store.
So any day now, I'll be sending Celina her book. Celina beat another Veniceblog reader, Jonathan Glixon, by about 2 hours. Jonathan, who's actually living in Venice at the moment, reports that the area in the right foreground where tables, chairs and shoes are stacked in the antique photo now often has pottery displayed for sale ... no doubt an inherited right that goes back God knows how far. Since he was so close (and so nice), I'll be sending Jonathan a book, too.