Bridge of Sighs

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The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge in Venice, northern Italy . The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge), and built in 1602.

The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice out the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. In addition, little could be seen from inside the Bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows.

A local legend says that lovers will be granted everlasting love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge and be in love and happily married to a blissful husband or wife for the rest of your life.[1]

The bridge and the walls of the palazzo facing towards the bridge are under construction and currently the view does not live up to the expectations.


Cultural references

The following are mentions and references of the Bridge of Sighs in popular culture:


  • The Bridge of Sighs is featured on the cover of Cornelia Funke's novel, The Thief Lord.
  • Bridge of Sighs is the name of a Novel by Richard Russo written in 2007.
  • The Bridge is prominently featured in Aria book 1 - navigation (chapter) 3 titled 'Bridge of Sighs'
  • Edgar Allan Poe made explicit mention of the Bridge in his short story The Assignation.


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