Venice’s bridge of sighs is worldwide known.

One quickly associates this bridge’s name to a beautiful love story. Actually, the legend says that the lovers who pass under this bridge will be in love forever…

And why shouldn’t you, when visiting Venice, ride a gondola with your lover under the bridge of sighs? Living all these stories is part of experiencing the city’s romanticism.

But in reality the bridge’s name means something different. And there’s nothing romantic about it.

History

In 1614, the architect Antonio Contino, who had already aided his uncle to design Rialto bridge, designed the Bridge of Sighs. It’s 11 meters wide, it’s made of white limestone and it has 2 stone-railed windows. Its Italian Renaissance architecture is gorgeous.

The bridge is totally enclosed and covered on all of its sides. It worked as a connection between two buildings, the Ducal Palace and the New Prisons building, which was the world’s first building to be constructed in order to work as a prison.

Inside the bridge there are two parallel corridors, totally separated. Both connected the prison to different areas of the Ducal Palace. One of them allowed visiting the place where the law enforcers were located and where the criminal justice was applied, while the remaining corridor gave access to the State’s defense rooms and to the parlor.

During the Romantic period, the bridge gained its famous name. It was believed that the prisoners, when leaving the courtroom to go to prison, sighed for freedom for the last time as they looked to Venice, through the building’s windows.

Later, Lord Byron made that name famous. This British poet lived for a while in Venice and he wrote about it: “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs, a palace and a prison on each hand”.

I’ve been to Venice two times already. The first was the quicker one, as I only spent 2 or 3 days there. The second lasted longer. I was able to calmly stroll through this city’s gorgeous streets and bridges for hours. I used the boat a lot and tried the gondolas. I started by visiting the mandatory places, such as the Bridge of Sighs.

I walked inside of it and used the route of those who sighed before entering the cell. I recommend you to take this historic journey as well.

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