This is the famous Bridge of Sighs which can be found off the Grand Canal in Venice. It’s a covered bridge which was used to transport prisoners from the Doge’s Palace through to the prisons.
It used to be said that the bridge derived its name from the sighs of the prisoners who would cross the bridge and experience their last view of the outside world. However, it’s claimed that this name was popularised by Lord Byron, despite the fact that the cells were mostly used to detain small-time criminals.
History of The Bridge of Sighs
The bridge was actually constructed in 1600 for the purpose of connecting the Doge’s Palace to the prisons across the Rio de Palazzo. The bridge was designed by Antonio Contino and is constructed of white limestone.
Contino’s uncle, Antonio da Ponte is best known for designing the fabulous Rialto Bridge which spans the Grand Canal.
The romantic notion that prisoners would sigh taking their last look at the free world is debunked somewhat by the fact that it’s very difficult to see through the stone windows of the bridge!
Our time in Venice
When we were in Venice, it would have been easy to miss the Bridge of Sighs if not for the fact that so many people were voraciously photographing it! As you walk along the many little bridges along the Riva degli Schiavona, you’re almost as taken with each little tributary canal, and each one is decidedly picturesque.