Bridge of Sighs

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 [ [ Bridge of Sighs - Venice for Visitors ] ] .

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".

ee also

The name "Bridge of Sighs" has since been applied by association to other similar covered bridges around the world, including:
* "Puente de los Suspiros" ("Bridge of Sighs" in Spanish), a bridge in the bohemian city of Barranco, Lima, Peru
* a bridge in Cambridge, England
* a bridge in Oxford, England
* a bridge in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
* a bridge connecting the Allegheny County Courthouse proper to the jail building, both designed by American architect H.H. Richardson in 1884
* the bridge which spans the Swan Boat pond in Boston's Public Garden is sometimes jokingly referred to as the "Bridge of Size," a play on words based on the small bridge's vastly overbuilt look

In 1844, Thomas Hood wrote "The Bridge of Sighs" about a prostitute who commits suicide by jumping from Waterloo Bridge in London

Cultural references

The following are mentions and references of the Bridge of Sighs in popular culture:


*In 2007, novelist Richard Russo published "The Bridge of Sighs", a novel set in Venice and in a small fictional town in upstate New York.

*In his novel "Ragtime", E.L. Doctorow mentions "the Bridge of Sighs, the iron catwalk that connected the Tombs with the Criminal Courts Building" in Gilded Age New York City.


*The Charles Aznavour song "Que C'est Triste Venise" references the bridge in most of the versions Aznavour recorded it in. "Bridge of Sighs" is also the title track of an 1974 album by Robin Trower.

*The bridge is also mentioned in the Marillion song "Jigsaw", from their 1984 album "Fugazi", in the The Small Faces' hit song "Itchycoo Park", and in the Gerard Lenorman song "Voici les Clefs".


*The Bridge of Sighs is referenced in Howard Barker's 1985 play, "Scenes from an Execution." "URGENTINO: There is a bridge over there. On one side of the bridge there is a carpet. And on the other side of the bridge there is bare stone. And on this side of the bridge there are cushions, and on the other side there is straw. And on this side there are windows, but on the other side it is dark. On this side we laugh, and on that side they cry. Do you know the bridge? GALACTIA: The Bridge of Sighs." (291)


*"Bridge of Sighs" is the name of a mission in "Homeworld", the popular 3d space computer game.


Barker, Howard. "Scenes from an Execution". 1985. Collected Plays Volume 1. Calder: London, 1990.

External links

* [,+italy&ll=45.434004,12.340490&spn=0.003004,0.010274&t=k&hl=en Satellite image from Google Maps]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • bridge of sighs — Usage: often capitalized B&S Etymology: from Bridge of Sighs, a covered bridge in Venice, Italy, that leads from the palace of the Doge to a prison, translation of Italian Ponte dei Sospiri : bridgeway 2 * * * a bridge in Venice across which… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Bridge of Sighs — name of a bridge in Venice (Italy) built in the 16th Century connecting the prisons and the interrogation rooms at the Doge s castle (it is called so because of the tried or executed prisoners sighs crossing the bridge) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Bridge of Sighs — a bridge in Venice across which prisoners were formerly led for trial in the ducal palace. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bridge of Sighs — 16th century Venetian bridge connecting a prison with a palace where prisoners were tried; any similar structure connecting a courthouse with a prison …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Bridge of Sighs — noun a bridge in Venice through which prisoners are said to have been led for trial in the ducal palace …   Australian English dictionary

  • BRIDGE OF SIGHS —    a covered way in Venice leading from the Ducal Palace to the State prison, and over which culprits under capital sentence were transported to their doom, whence the name …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Bridge of Sighs (novel) — Bridge of Sighs is a 2007 novel written by Richard Russo. Bridge of Sighs is Russo s first novel since his Pulitzer Prize winning novel Empire Falls (2002). For the Bridge of Sighs as in the actual bridge, click on the hyperlink. Plot summaryThe… …   Wikipedia

  • Bridge of Sighs (disambiguation) — The Bridge of Sighs is one of the many bridges in Venice.Bridge of Sighs may also refer to: *Bridge of Sighs (Cambridge), a bridge in Cambridge, England *, England *Bridge of Sighs (Oxford), a bridge in Oxford, England *The Bridge of Sighs (… …   Wikipedia

  • Bridge of Sighs (album) — Infobox Album Name = Bridge of Sighs Type = studio Longtype = Artist = Robin Trower Released = 1974 Recorded = 1974 Genre = Blues, Rock Length = 35:22 (not including 1999 bonus tracks) Label = Chrysalis/Capitol Producer = Matthew Fisher Reviews …   Wikipedia

  • Bridge of Sighs (Cambridge) — The Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge is a bridge belonging to St John s College of Cambridge University. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college s Third Court and New Court. The architect was Henry Hutchinson. [cite web… …   Wikipedia

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