Bridge of Sighs

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The Bridge of Sighs in June 2008

The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge located in Venice, northern Italy. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antonio Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge) and was built in 1600.

Etymology[edit]

The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge's name, given by Lord Byron as a translation from the Italian "Ponte dei sospiri" in the 19th century,[1][2] comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through 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,[3] and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals[citation needed]. In addition, little could be seen from inside the bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows.[4][5]

Gallery[edit]

Similar bridges[edit]

The name "Bridge of Sighs" has since been applied by association to other bridges and around the world, as well as to other structures. See Bridge of Sighs (disambiguation).

In culture[edit]

The 1861 opera Le pont des soupirs by Jacques Offenbach features the bridge, as does the song "Venice" by Gibraltarian band Melon Diesel.

Robin Trower, musician, Bridge of Sighs (1974) album and song. [Greg McComas]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°26′02.6″N 12°20′27.2″E / 45.434056°N 12.340889°E / 45.434056; 12.340889