One of the most famous bridges in the beautiful city of Venice, The Bridge of Sighs captures the people’s attention in a new yet interesting manner.
Popularly known as the Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, this fully enclosed limestone bridge passes across the Rio di Palazzo and connects the Doge’s Palace to the state’s Prisons that were built next to the canal in the late 16th century.
Master-crafted by Antonio Contin (who also designed Venice’s famous Rialto Bridge), this unique masterpiece was commissioned by the Doge Marino Grimani in the 16th century. Today, the Bridge of Sighs is one of the most well-known, photographed and appreciated landmarks of Venice. What’s more; thanks to its evocative name, the bridge has become an epitome of romance in the modern era and emerged as a tourist hotspot for couples who stop to take a picture of them kissing in front of it.
But where does the bridge’s name come from? Here’s something you might want to know— the ‘sighs’ refer to not of love, but of dejection and despair! In fact, the Bridge of Sighs was granted this title because it served as the last passage for prisoners who were led from the examining rooms to the execution chamber or cells in the prison.
Legend has it that the prisoners sighed when they would glimpse at the beauty of the Venice for the last time by a small windowpane on the bridge. But it was only in the 19th century that the bridge became particularly famous; thanks to the Romantic poet Lord Byron’s famous reference in his book “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”: “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; a palace and a prison on each hand.”