What happened at the Bridge of Sighs in Venice?

The Bridge of Sighs at Venice, Italy. A shivering experience when you know what happened over here. Imagine the sighing prisoners and your appetite for a nice Venetian meal will disappear.

You will find this Bridge next to the Doge's Palace. You can read this article about an exclusive tour to cross the Bridge. But also about its name, history, and four things most people don't know about the Bridge of Sigh. So, what happened here at...

The famous Bridge of Sighs?

Bridge of Sighs Venice Italy

The famous bridge (Ponte Dei Sospiri) is a prominent tourist landmark. It's an early 17th-century Baroque structure that crosses the palace to the prisons.

You can walk through the Bridge of Sighs!

Book an exclusive tour at the Doge's Palace to walk through the bridge. Then you see how Casanova managed to escape. 

It is a guided tour. Very special for the price of € 55 -.

  • A one-hour guided walk in the Doge's Palace
  • Walk through the Bridge of Sigh
  • Save time by skipping the (frequently lengthy) queues

You can pay directly by credit card. Then you immediately get the tickets and can show them on your smartphone. So when you decide 10 minutes before, you can go straight inside! Book, therefore, your tickets online >.

Hey, before you go, you should know... 

- BOOK YOUR TICKETS -

How does the bridge get its name?

The ancient function of the bridge is far from happy: it connects the Hall of the Magistrates in the Palazzo Ducale to the New Prisons. Many unhappy criminals had reason to sigh as they crossed it. People like the famous Casanova and Galileo Galilei were locked up in this prison. Prisoners like them were sighing before entering the chilly dungeons: the last breath and a view of daylight.

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Later on, Casanova knew to escape spectacularly. On the night of October 31 in the year 1756, he climbed out of his cell. He crosses the whole palace, where a guard lets him out.

The guard mistook him for a politician. The legend says that before Casanova escaped the sea on a gondola, he drank coffee at a cafe along the San Marco square.

If you want to take a picture of the bridge, I advise standing on the Ponte Della Paglia. You can take beautiful pictures.

It is especially taking pictures in the early morning when the light is at its best. There are no tourists and silence, which you don’t have during the daytime.

Bridge of Sighs Venice

When I took a picture, only a pigeon disturbed my view. But it didn't take long before the pigeon became my friend. I stood there for maybe 30 minutes.

I've tried if I could hear the sigh of the convicts who went to the dungeon. Unfortunately, I could only hear the wind and the early morning sounds.

It is a unique bridge, and you should undoubtedly visit it once. Please let me know when you hear the sigh of a prisoner crossing the two buildings... Or send me some pictures you took of this bridge.

4 things: What do most people not know about the Bridge of Sigh in Venice?

The Bridge of Sighs in Venice is a famous landmark often associated with romanticism and historical charm. However, many people might not be aware of a few lesser-known facts about the Bridge. Here are a couple of intriguing details:

  1. Purpose of the Bridge: While the Bridge of Sighs is often depicted as a romantic and melancholic structure, its original purpose was far from romantic. The Bridge was built in the early 17th century to serve as a covered passage connecting the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace to the adjacent prison, the Prigioni Nuove. Its purpose was to transport prisoners from the courtroom to the prison cells; hence the name "Bridge of Sighs" due to the prisoners' supposed sighs as they caught their last glimpse of Venice.
  2. Architectural Style: The Bridge of Sighs showcases the distinctive architectural style of Venice. It was designed by Antonio Contino, a renowned architect of the time who followed the city's prevailing Renaissance and Gothic architectural trends. The Bridge features delicate stone tracery, small windows with stone bars, and ornamental details, characteristic of Venetian architecture.
  3. White Limestone Myth: The current appearance of the Bridge of Sighs, with its white limestone facade, is often attributed to a common misconception. While the Bridge is indeed made of limestone, it was initially left unpainted, allowing the natural stone color to show. However, over time, the exposure to the elements caused the limestone to darken, giving it a grayish appearance. In the early 20th century, a widespread restoration effort took place, during which the Bridge was cleaned and restored to its original white color. This painting led to the popular belief that the Bridge was always white.
  4. Views from the Bridge: Contrary to popular belief, the Bridge of Sighs does not offer views of the entire city of Venice. The Bridge connects the Doge's Palace to the prison, and its small, barred windows primarily provide glimpses of the surrounding canals and the palace's outer courtyard. The view from the Bridge is relatively limited, but it still adds to the structure's romantic allure and historical ambiance.

The Bridge of Sighs continues to capture the imagination of visitors with its intriguing history and architectural beauty. These lesser-known details offer a deeper understanding of the Bridge's original purpose and the cultural context of Venice during its construction.

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By Rudmer Hoekstra (author):


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