Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri, Venetian: Ponte de i Sospiri) is a bridge in Venice, Italy. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antonio Contino, whose uncle Antonio da Ponte designed the Rialto Bridge, and it was built in 1600.

Bridge of Sighs

Ponte dei Sospiri
Coordinates45°26′02.6″N 12°20′27.1″E
CrossesRio di Palazzo
Characteristics
DesignArch bridge
MaterialIstrian stone
Total length11 metres (36 ft)
History
DesignerAntonio Contin
Construction start1600 (year)
Construction end1603 (year)

Etymology

The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge's English name was bequeathed by Lord Byron in the 19th century as a translation from the Italian "Ponte dei sospiri",[1][2] from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time that the bridge was built, and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. In addition, little could be seen from inside the bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows.[3][4]

In culture

The 1861 opera Le pont des soupirs by Jacques Offenbach features the bridge, as does the song "Venice" by Gibraltarian band Melon Diesel.

French-Armenian singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour recorded his famous song Que C'est Triste Venise in 1964. Its lyrics make reference to the bridge and to several other Venetian features.

Bridge of Sighs is also both a 1974 album and song by English musician Robin Trower. The song was later covered by progressive metal band Opeth for the special edition of their 2008 album Watershed. The song was also covered by The Mountain Goats and released on the EP Aquarium Drunkard's Lagniappe Session. However, this song is not about the bridge in Venice, and merely makes use of the poetic image of a "bridge of sighs."

The 1979 film “A Little Romance” follows a French boy and an American girl who meet in Paris and begin a romance that leads to a journey to Venice where they hope to seal their love forever with a kiss beneath the Bridge of Sighs at sunset.

"Jigsaw", a song from Marillion's 1984 album Fugazi, references the bridge.

The level "Canals" from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is partially set in the bridge.

References

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