The Bridge of Sighs

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The Bridge of Sighs, also known as the Ponte dei Sospiri, is one of the most famous bridges of Venice. This curved, fully enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has tiny rectangular windows covered with narrow lattice screens. The bridge was built between 1600 and 1602 to connect the Doge's Palace with the newly established prison, the Prigioni Nuove, located across the canal Rio di Palazzo.

The bridge had a very specific purpose. It was used to lead prisoners from the interrogation rooms at Doge's Palace to their cells in the Prigioni. Legend has it that as convicted prisoners walked across the bridge to the prison to serve their sentences or to the execution chamber, they would catch a last glimpse of the outside world through the windows and sigh. Hence, the bridge is called the “Bridge of Sighs”.

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Photo credit: Adam Smok/Flickr

In reality though, 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. In addition, there was not much that could be seen from the inside of the bridge through the tight stone grills covering the windows.

Today, the bridge is associated with a different legend, that if lovers kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs, they will be granted eternal love and bliss.

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Photo credit: Oliver Clarke/Flickr

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Photo credit: Avital Pinnick/Flickr

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The unimpressive views through the stone windows of the Bridge of Sighs. Photo credit: Kira Butler/Flickr

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The unimpressive views through the stone windows of the Bridge of Sighs. Photo credit: Geoff Young/Flickr

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Photo credit: Tim Sackton/Flickr

Sources: Wikipedia / A View on Cities / About.com

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2 comments:

  1. The song of songs!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g9Hs3rnd6s

    ReplyDelete
  2. "The unimpressive views through the stone windows of the Bridge of Sighs. " -- if you were a prisoner about to his last daylight, I would call that view impressive, thank you very much. But, I know it was just a legend...

    ReplyDelete

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