Bridge of Sighs

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Bridge of Sighs

Ponte dei Sospiri
Antonio Contin - Ponte dei sospiri (Venice).jpg
Coordinates45°26′02.6″N 12°20′27.1″E / 45.434056°N 12.340861°E / 45.434056; 12.340861Coordinates: 45°26′02.6″N 12°20′27.1″E / 45.434056°N 12.340861°E / 45.434056; 12.340861
CrossesRio di Palazzo
DesignArch bridge
MaterialIstrian stone
Total length11 metres (36 ft)
DesignerAntonio Contin
Construction start1600 (year)
Construction end1603 (year)

The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri, Venetian: Ponte de i Sospiri) is a bridge in Venice, 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 designed the Rialto Bridge, and it was built in 1600.

The Bridge of Sighs seen by night.


The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge's English name was bequeathed by Lord Byron in the 19th century as a translation from the Italian "Ponte dei sospiri",[1][2] 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 that the bridge was built,[citation needed] 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.[3][4]


In culture[edit]

The 1861 opera Le pont des soupirs by Jacques Offenbach has the bridge as a setting.[citation needed]

The Bridge of Sighs features heavily in the plot of the 1979 Diane Lane film, A Little Romance. One of the characters tells of a tradition that if a couple kiss in a gondola beneath the Bridge of Sighs in Venice at sunset while the church bells toll, they will be in love forever.

Bridge of Sighs is the name of the second solo studio album released in April 1974 by English rock guitarist and songwriter, Robin Trower, which reached #7 in the United States and certified Gold on 10 September 1974. Although Trower named the album after a racehorse with that name that he saw listed in a sports page, it is generally assumed that the horse was named after the well-known bridge in Venice, Italy.

Marillion, an English progressive rock band, mentions this particular bridge in their song 'Jigsaw'. ('We are renaissance children becalmed beneath the Bridge of Sighs').

Renowned American architect H.H. Richardson used the bridge as inspiration when designing part of the Allegheny County Jail complex in Pittsburgh, PA. It was completed in 1888, and features a similar enclosed arched walkway that connects the courthouse and jail, therefore bearing the same name.

Bridge of Sighs, Pittsburgh, PA


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Five Remarkable Bridges that are more than 400-Years-Old". History Channel on Foxtel. 21 July 2013.
  2. ^ Byron, George Gordon Byron Baron (4 January 1863). "The Poetical Works of Lord Byron: with Life of the Author and Copious Notes. Beautifully Illustrated. Family Edition". Milner&Sowerby – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Planet, Lonely. "Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, Italy".
  4. ^ "The Grim History of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice". 20 January 2017.
  5. ^ Thomas, Keith. "The Bridge of Sighs". Quest Ministries. Retrieved 8 September 2021.

External links[edit]