Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice

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Ponte dei Sospiri - SAN MARCO

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    Ponte dei Sospiri
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    Bridge of Sighs
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    Ponte dei Sospiri
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    Ponte dei Sospiri

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Oct 23, 2014

    The famous Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) connects the ducale palace with its historic prison rooms. The name was used as it was believed that a sentenced criminal would sigh when crossing this bridge, realizing the irreversible loss of his freedom.

    Bridge of Sighs

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    Pont dei Sospiri or Bridge of Sighs

    by Roeffie Updated Aug 17, 2014

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    This bridge connects the Palazzo Ducale and the former Prison. In early days the convicted people had to cross the bridge before they were thrown in prison. Their future was the cold and damped cells of the prison. Through the little windows they saw daylight for the last time. The name of the bridge derives from the sighs they let when crossing the bridge to their destination.

    Famous people who where thrown in prison here were Casanova and Galileo Galilei. The bridge can be seen best from Ponte della Paglia near the Canale di San Marco.

    Ponte dei Sospiri Ponte dei Sospiri
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    Bridge of Sighs, Part II

    by von.otter Updated Nov 11, 2013

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    “A lowered arch, a small Doric order with embossed, circular pediments overloaded with some windings, such is the Bridge of Sighs. It is properly speaking only a passage ten meters in lengths driving sheltered from the Ducal Palace to the prison, and, furthermore, a very ordinary work for the architect of the Bridge. Certainly Byron’s poetries more made for the illustration of the Bridge of the Sighs that the talent of the architect which constructed it.”
    — from “Excursion in Italy” 1859 by Adolphe Lance

    Ponte dei Sospiri can be seen best from two places, Ponte Canonica (see photo #2), on the northern side, and the more well-known view from Ponte della Paglia (see photo #1), on the bay, or southern side of the Bridge of Signs.

    The 36-foot wide bridge, the only covered bridge in Venice, is built in the Italian Renaissance style, made of white limestone. Four windows, covered with stone lattice work, look north and south. Construction began in 1600; and took two years to complete. The many sculpted faces—most of them sad or angry—that decorate the bridge deserve notice (see photos #4 & #5).

    Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013
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    Bridge of Sighs, Part I

    by von.otter Updated Nov 11, 2013

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    “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
    A palace and a prison on each hand;
    I saw from out the wave of her structure’s rise
    As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand:
    A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
    Around me, and a dying
    Glory smiles
    O’er the far times, when many a subject land
    Look’d to the winged
    Lion’s marble pines,
    Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles.”
    — from “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” 1818 by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

    Venice’s Ponte dei Sospiri, Bridge of Sighs, was completed in 1602. Designed by Antonio Contino, it spans the Rio di Palazzo (Palace River), connecting the Old Prison and interrogation rooms of Palazzo Ducale to the 1589 New Prison, across the canal.

    How the bridge got its name is open to speculation. The most popular is that prisoners, who walked across the bridge on their way to their prison cell, would sigh as they crossed the bridge, lamenting their last glimpse of the outside world.

    Another story tells us if a couple kisses under the Bridge of Sighs, while in a gondola below at sunset, they will enjoy eternal love. In this example, the sighs came from lovers, overwhelmed by the beauty of their surroundings.

    Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013 Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 2013
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    Bridge of Sighs

    by GentleSpirit Updated Jun 26, 2013

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    This was the bridge between the prison and the interrogation chambers in the Doge's Palace, built in 1602.

    The story was that the last view of Venice's beauty would be the last thing a prisoner would see before he was led to the dark dank prison. This would cause one last sigh, hence the "bridge of sighs."

    By the time the bridge was built that whole story was probably over with. As my picture shows, you can't get a real good view of Venice from the bridge. Great in the storybook, a bit different in real life.

    One legend is that you will find true love forever if you kiss on a gondola under the bridge of sighs while the bells of San Marco are tolling. Oh, and it must be at sunset to qualify for true love forever:) Imagine that!

    View from the Bridge of Sighs
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    Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)

    by basstbn Updated Mar 26, 2013

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    Another of the city's don't-miss landmarks.

    Built in 1602, its beauty belies its grim history (or legend). It is through this bridge that convicted prisoners passed on their way toward an awaiting cell. While it is a popular story that the bridge gave prisoners one last look at the city of Venice, thence a sigh, many sources indicate that little could be seen due to stone grill work covering the windows

    On the lighter side, local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Ponte dei Sospiri.

    Bridge of Sighs, Elizabeth's Photo from 2000 This is what it looked like during our 2010 visit.
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    Bridge of Sighs

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 21, 2013

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    The Bridge of Sighs is the second famous Venetian bridge. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino and was built in 1602.
    The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, 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.
    A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge Of Sighs.
    Arch span 11 m.

    Bridge of Sighs Bridge of Sighs Bridge of Sighs
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    Bridge of Sighs

    by Africancrab Written Dec 30, 2012

    the Bridge of Sighs known as the Ponte dei Sospiri by the Venetians is a beautiful White limestone bridge. Designed by Antonio Contino it spans the Riodi Palazzo and was originally constructed to bridge the prison and the Doge's Palace interrogation rooms. The Bridge of Sighs is a beautiful work of art, stretching high above the canal. It is generally known as one of the finest examples of bridge architecture; a masterpiece at a time when such construction woulsd have been deemed almost impossible.

    Why the 'bridge of Sighs'? Well it is said that the bridge got its name from the fact that prisoners who were then crossing it, on the way to their prison cells or the execution chambers, would sigh as they caught their last glimpses of Venice through the tiny windows. The bridge, and its unforgettable name, became particularly famous after the Romantic poet Lord Byron referenced the famous bridge in his 1812 book called Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

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    Ponte dei Sospiri

    by zadunajska8 Written Feb 12, 2012

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    The Bridge of Sighs is one of those famous places you just have to see when you visit Venice. It's best seen from the Ponte della Paglia which links Piazza San Marco outside the Doge's Palace with the Riva degli Schiavoni. You get to cross the bridge on a tour of the Palace and see how it's actually split into two passageways linking the Palace to the New Prisons. Apparently this was so that prisioners would not get to speak or pass messages as they were taken to and from their interogations. Strange that something so attractive on the outside had so much misery inside.

    Google Map

    Ponte dei Sospiri Ponte dei Sospiri Ponte dei Sospiri
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    Bridge of Sighs

    by spidermiss Updated Jul 23, 2011

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    Ponte dei Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs) is a stone bridge that passes over Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons and the Doge's Palace's interrogation rooms. The bridged was designed by Antoni Contino, nephew of Antonio da Ponte who designed Rialto Bridge, at the beginning of the 17th Century.

    Lord Byron, during his European travels in the early 1800s, named this bridge as the said name suggesting that convicts would sigh at their final view of Venice through the bridge's window before being imprisoned.

    The Bridge of Sighs is currently going through an intensive restoration programme and not sure when this will be completed. It's best checking the city's official website for further information.

    Bridge of Sighs, Venice
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    Ponte della Paglia - The Straw Bridge

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

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    SAN MARCO
    VAPORETTO- SAN ZACCARIA or SAN MARCO (VALLERESSO)

    Continuing along the Molo, with the Doges Palace on Your left, You'll soon come to a bridge. The Ponte della Paglia, or the Straw Bridge (pic 2), possibly named due to this being the place where bales of straw were unloaded for the garrisons of the Doges Palace, and the prison opposite. The straw was used for bedding and possibly for feeding the horses of the garrison. It was also the place where straw could be bought

    The bridge was originally built of wood, but was then re-constructed in stone in 1360, with this present bridge dating from 1847, when it was enlarged, but modelled on the old bridge.

    Bodies of drowned victims were at one time displayed on this bridge!

    Steps lead up to the centre of the bridge, which is divided into 2 parts by a rail that runs the length of the bridge. Part of the year, the steps are covered with ramps- this is during (and for a while after) the Venice marathon, which I believe is in October - So it's a good time for those who require wheelchairs, or are pushing prams/ pushchairs to visit the city.

    Apparently there is a shrine on the bridge that dates from 1580, with a carving of the Virgin known as Madonna dei Gondoliieri (that was added 3 years later) I only became aware of this after my recent visit (I'll put it on my list of things to look for next time)

    Now, this bridge is usually crowded with tourists pointing their cameras, or posing for photos on the left hand side of the bridge, as this is the usual spot for taking photos of another of Venices main attractions - Ponte dei Sospiri, or as it more usually known- The Bridge of Sighs.

    This covered walkway connects the Doges Palace to the prison, State Inquisitors office and the old torture chambers.

    Many romantic stories have arisen from this bridge, some are inaccurate in historical time and detail, but hey, this is a city of romance!

    UPDATE*** JAN 2009 - The Doges Palace is undergoing some renovation work - so it is a different view of the Bridge of Sighs now - as you can see from this photo! There have been some issues about the companies advertising hoardings. Pic 3 shows it as it was before the hoardings went up

    I particularly enjoyed wandering around here in the early hours of Christmas Day morning 2008, when this photo (1) was taken

    The bridge can be accessed as part of a tour of the Doges Palace -

    I'll return to Ponte dei Sospiri later on this short tour, with a different view of the Bridge.(keep following in order)

    Bridge of Sighs December 2008 Ponte della Paglia and Ponte dei Sospiri Ponte dei Sospiri - The Bridge of Sighs My gang photographing The Bridge of Sighs 2010 Debs Ponte della Paglia and Ponte dei Sospiri 2010
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    A MISERABLE LOOKING PONTE DE SOSPIRI!

    by breughel Written Jul 18, 2010

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    This summer 2010, not only prisoners have a sigh passing from the Palazzo Ducale to the New Prisons (Prigione Nuove) but also the millions of tourists discovering the miserable looking Bridge of Sighs between two walls of bleu panels and topped by a publicity panel for watches.

    Bridge of Sighs in summer 2010 !
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    Bridge of Sighs

    by Maria81 Written Jan 8, 2010

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    Where?

    By Palazzo Ducale, connecting the old prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace itself. The Bridge of Sighs is included in the guided Secret Itinerary tour which I would very highly recommend.

    What?

    Contino, nephew of Antonio da Ponte who designed the Rialto Bridge, designed this bridge between 1600 and 1603. The bridge is composed of two overlapping corridors in a baroque style. And it's amazing for photoshots at dawn, dusk, or during full moon - and there are fewer people around, which is also a bonus.

    According to the local legend, if lovers kiss on a gondola at sunset as it glides under the bridge they will have eternal love. However, the Bridge's original purpose was much less romantic.

    It's name comes not from the sighs of those in love, but the sound of sighs of the condemned as they were being led to prison. This is another legend probably, even though it made its way into Mark Twain's 'Innocents Abroad' (one of my absolute favourite books)

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    Ponte dei Sospiri

    by MM212 Updated Sep 4, 2009

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    One of Venice's most famous bridges, il Ponte dei Sospiri, known in English as the Bridge of Sighs, connects the Palazzo Ducale with the Prigione Nuove, i.e. the new prisons of the Doge's Palace. Its name derived from supposed sighs of the criminals who traversed the bridge on their way to the ruthless prisons across the canal. The bridge was built in the 17th century using Istrian stone, carved in a Baroque style. While both its architecture and its purpose are unique in Venice, I still found the Bridge of Sighs to be a bit of a disappointment, but try not to be swayed by my opinion.

    Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) - Nov 05
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    Bridge of Sighs

    by abi_maha Updated Feb 2, 2009

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    It was a wierd experience to visit this dungeon and get a feel of how convicts feel when couped up in their prisons. By the time we got out me and dad were actually feeling quite claustrophobic!
    The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is one of many bridges in Venice. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge), and built between 1600 and 1603.

    The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice out 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, and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals[1].

    View from under the bridge
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