Bridge of Sighs

For anyone visiting Italy’s most romantic city, the splendid and legendary Bridge of Sighs is a must-see in Venice. Built in the 17th century, the covered bridge has two narrow corridors that are made from Istrian stone and joins the Doge’s Palace to the Palazzo delle Prigioni Nuove, which houses the bygone court offices and torture rooms. It was designed by Antonio Contino and was built in 1602. According to a local legend, lovers are granted eternal bliss and love who kiss each other on a gondola by the sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bell of St. Mark’s Campanile tolls.

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History

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The Bridge of Sighs spans through the Rio di Palazzo and was intended to connect the interrogation rooms of Doge’s Palace and Old Prison to the New Prison, situated across the river. The bridge was named by Lord Byron in the 19th century, based on the legend that prisoners who crossed the bridge on their way to the prison casted a last look at the city through little windows and gave a sigh of regret for their loved ones and lost freedom. An invention of the romantic literature, the name comes from the saying that the bridge could hear the sigh of the prisoners when they were being led to the prison.

Architectural Efficacy

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The spectacular arched profile of the Bridge of Sighs, suspended over the water of Rio di Palazzo, presents one of the most beautiful scenes of the city, worth visiting on your Venice holiday. As portrayed by Lord Byron, the bridge leads to the palace on one hand and prison on the other hand. Typically, the bridge is one of the greatest examples of architectural efficacy in the world. Portraying Italian Renaissance style, the 36 feet wide bridge is built from white limestone and has two windows with stone bars sitting at the peak of the enclosed bridge. It took almost 2 years to complete constructing the bridge, starting in 1600.

As you take an exotic gondola ride under the Bridge of Sighs, you will notice fine sculpture and artwork. The Bridge of Sighs looks exquisite from the outside, but from within, it hardly presents an artwork or architectural efficacy. Today, there are many other enclosed bridges in the name of Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge, Oxford, Frankfurt, and Pittsburgh; however, it all earns its name from this marvelous and legendary bridge in Venice.

How to Reach Bridge of Sighs

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You can take a Vaporetto to stop at Vallaresso or San Marco, from where you can walk along the Riva waterfront to reach the corner of Palazzo Ducale. To your left, you see a narrow canal with the first bridge to look upon – the Bridge of Sighs.

Opening Hours and Tickets

You can visit the bridge on tour to Doge’s Palace, which is open from 9 am to 7 pm in summer and 6 pm in winter. A Piazza San Marco museum pass will cost €13.


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