The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is located in the area of San Marco, not far from Saint Mark's Square. Although there are around 400 bridges in Venice, the Bridge of Sighs is a special one because it used to be crossed by prisoners about to be judged. Indeed, the bridge linked the jail to the Doge's palace where all trials took place.

The inside of the bridge is quite austere: two corridors separated by a wall so that prisoners getting in the jail and out of the jail couldn't see each other. Prisoners going to the jail were brought either to very cold and damp cells in the underground (the "Pozzi" or wells) or to stifling cells under the roof (the "Piombi" or leads).

Today the Bridge of Sighs has become one of the most touristic places in Venice. Its name came from lamentations and sighs from prisoners on their way to jail.

Yet no sigh could have actually been heard because the bridge is totally covered with thick walls that could muffle any sound. Only small openings enabled the prisoners to cast a last look on the city. The Bridge of Sighs is the only covered bridge in Venice.

Only during the Romanticism era did the Bridge of Sighs get its name - long after it was built. It might have never really been sighed on the Bridge of Sighs - at any rate probably not all the time.

The bridge was built in 1602 by Antonio Contin, nephew to the famous bridge builder Antonio Da Ponte.

The Bridge of Sighs is part of our guided tour. We will show it to you in association with other monuments such as the Doge's Palace, Saint Mark's Square or Saint Mark's Basilica. Italian tour guides will share their knowledge with you together with some anecdotes about the bridge in your own language. The Bridge of Sighs can be reached during a visit of the Doge's Palace.

If you are interested in booking a guided walk in Venice or a guided tour in the Doge's Palace including a visit of the Bridge of Sighs, please contact us at : the Venezia Guides team would be delighted to help you!