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Bridge of Sighs, Venice, or Ponte dei Sospiri | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 21:26

Bridge of Sighs, Venice, ItalyThere are a couple of theories, derived from Romantic literature author Lord Byron, on how the Ponte dei Sospiri, or "Bridge of Sighs" received its name.

The "Bridge of Sighs" was erected in the year 1600 AD to connect the Doge's prisons with the inquisitor rooms of the Doge's Palace.  One theory - the sighs are supposed to be of the condemned prisoners as they were led from the inquisitor to the executioner during their final moments, or before being imprisoned.

Another story says that if a couple kisses under the bridge while riding in a gondola at sunset, they will enjoy eternal love. Thus, the "sighs" are said to come from the lovers who are overwhelmed and overjoyed with romance.

Touring the Bridge of Sighs, and Doge's Palace

You can view the Bridge of Sighs as part of the Itinerari Segreti ("Secret Itinerary") tour of the Doge's Palace.  This is a 90-minute tour, which can be booked by appointment, and is conducted in Italian.  Included are the prisons, torture chambers, and other rooms that normally aren't open to visitors.

Tours run during season from June through September, every day except Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and noon. The number of visitors is limited, so it is best to book a couple of days in advance.

The bridge is one of Venice's most famous, along with the Rialto Bridge. 
Other places where you can see a copy of the Bridge of Sighs is in England:  Cambridge and Oxford.

Photo Credit:  Bill Di Meo of


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