A quotation from the Bible, Matthew 10 v. 22: part of a passage that seems to recommend living in the present and taking practical action. Julia Garnet appears to take these words as an injunction not to get stuck in your own old ideas and prejudices. In view of what happens next, perhaps they also suggest that the dead do literally look after their own.
This bridge crosses the river, next to the Church of the Angel Raphael. The bridge is never named in the book, but it is significant. It is where Julia first meets Nicco, where she suddenly realises the truth about Carlo, and where she makes her final crossing.
On her website, the author identifies this bridge as the 'Ponte de Cristo',(Bridge of Christ) a name which is perhaps suggestive of divine guidance. Click on the link, then click 'view map' and hold the cursor over no. 16 to read the details.
A picture of this unimportant-looking brick bridge can be seen here
The old man could be a Jungian archetype, representing perhaps wisdom, or even God.
In Zoroastrianism, the dead are held to cross the Bridge of Separation. A dog guides the soul into the next life. (See p. 251 bookmark.)