Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice

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Ponte dei Sospiri - SAN MARCO

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  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Bridge of Sighs, Part II

    by von.otter Updated Nov 11, 2013
    Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 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).

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    Bridge of Sighs, Part I

    by von.otter Updated Nov 11, 2013

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    Ponte dei Sospiri, Venice, May 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.

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    Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs)

    by basstbn Updated Mar 26, 2013
    Bridge of Sighs, Elizabeth's Photo from 2000
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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.

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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.

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    Bridge of Sighs

    by spidermiss Updated Jul 23, 2011

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    Bridge of Sighs, Venice

    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.

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    Ponte della Paglia - The Straw Bridge

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

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    Bridge of Sighs December 2008
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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)

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    A MISERABLE LOOKING PONTE DE SOSPIRI!

    by breughel Written Jul 18, 2010

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    Bridge of Sighs in summer 2010 !

    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.

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    Bridge of Sighs

    by Maria81 Written Jan 8, 2010

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    Bridge of Sighs

    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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    Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) - Nov 05

    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.

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  • abi_maha's Profile Photo

    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].

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    THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS

    by wanderingbilly Updated Nov 13, 2008

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    FROM PALACE TO PRISON..THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS

    WHEN IN VENICE YOU WILL NO DOUBT CROSS MANY MANY BRIDGES..BUT ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS IS THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS. THIS BRIDGE LINKS THE DOGES PALACE AND THE PRISON.
    IT GOT ITS NAME BECAUSE IT IS SAID THAT AS THE PRISONERS WERE BEING LED ACROSS THE BRIDGE ON THEIR WAY TO THE PRISON CELLS THEY WOULD LOOK OUT TO CATCH THEIR LAST GLIMPSE OF VENICE..AND AS THEY CAUGHT THEIR FINAL GLIMPSE THEY WOULD GIVE A HEAVY SIGH...THUS GIVING THE BRIDGE ITS NAME..THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS.
    THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS IS BEST SEEN AS PART OF THE DOGE'S PALACE TOUR..A REVIEW OF WHICH I WILL DO NEXT.

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    Bridge of Sighs – Ponte dei Sospiri

    by grayfo Written Oct 15, 2008

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    The Bridge of Sighs was constructed between 1600 and 1603 and is made from white Istrian Stones. It was built to connect the Doge's prisons, or Prigioni, with the inquisitor's rooms in the main palace. The bridge crosses the Rio di Palazzo.

    The designer Antoni Contino was the nephew of Antonio da Ponte, the man who designed the Rialto Bridge.

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    Bridge of Sighs

    by lina112 Updated Sep 4, 2008

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    The bridge, that houses two overlapping corridors, was built at the beginning of the 17th century form a design by Antonio Contin and used to serve as a link between the Old Prisons, in the Doge's Palace, and the New Prisons, situated beyond the Palazzo River.

    El puente fue construido a principios del siglo XVII, diseño de Antonio Contin. Era el camino que seguian los condenados a muerte y desde sus ventanas era por donde miraban por última vez la laguna veneciana

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    Bridge of Sighs

    by londonlover Written Jun 7, 2008

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    Looking south out from the bridge
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    The Doge's Palace is definitely a must-see on a trip to Venezia, and this is the one of the best parts...crossing the Bridge of Sighs. Imagine crossing it as your last view of the outside world on your way to the prison, as many did....

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    Bridge of Sighs: Ponte dei Sospiri

    by msbrandysue Written Jun 4, 2008

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    The Bridge
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    "The Bridge of Sighs 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].

    A local legend says that lovers will be assured eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge. This legend played a key part in the 1979 film A Little Romance."

    Taken from Wikipedia

    Not only was the bridge the last glimpse for prisoners. It was were family members stood when prisoners were walking back to Doge's Palace and the Square for their public execution. Family would wait on the bridge where tourists stand and wave to the convict for their final farewell.

    This is a very famous bridge and at different parts of the day will get very crowded. It's best to take your snap shot and get out of the way for others to do the same. However, it's not crowded at all parts of the day when you can gaze at it and go back in time to watch old prisoners say their final fairwells to Venice.

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