Venezia, Italy - Bridge of Sighs - Venice

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Bridge of Sighs

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The Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
The Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
View from the Bridge of Sighs.
View from the Bridge of Sighs.

The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is one of many bridges in Venice built in the 16th century. 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.

The Bridge of Sighs at night.
The Bridge of Sighs at night.

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[1].

A local legend says that lovers will be assured eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge. This legend played a key part in the 1979 film A Little Romance.

[edit] See also

The name "Bridge of Sighs" has since been applied by association to other similar covered bridges around the world, including:

The Charles Aznavour song "Que C'est Triste Venise" references the bridge in most of the versions Aznavour recorded it in. The bridge is also mentioned in the Marillion song "Jigsaw", from their 1984 album Fugazi.

"Bridge of Sighs" is the name of a mission in Homeworld, the popular 3d space RTS, and is the title song of a Robin Trower's 1974 album. In 1992, U.S. poet Steve Orlen published a volume of poetry titled The Bridge of Sighs (Miami University Press). In 2007, author Richard Russo published "The Bridge of Sighs," a novel set partly in Venice.


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