In the heart of Venice, a city already steeped in romance and mystery, there is a place that embodies the very essence of these emotions: the Bridge of Sighs. This distinctive bridge made of Istrian stone, which connects the Ducal Palace to the New Prisons, is a place full of history and beauty, evoking intense emotions in those who cross it. But how can we visit it? Let’s find out together.
History of the Bridge of Sighs
Built in 1600 during the reign of Doge Marino Grimani, the Bridge of Sighs is the work of architect Antonio Contin. The bridge gets its name from the sighs of prisoners who, crossing it, saw freedom for the last time through its small windows before being locked in the dark cells of the New Prisons.
This romantic interpretation, however, was coined in the Victorian era, when the bridge became a destination for English visitors attracted by its evocative beauty. In reality, in seventeenth-century Venice, the most dangerous convicts were rarely imprisoned in the New Prisons, and many of them would never have crossed the bridge.
How to visit the Bridge of Sighs
Despite its fame, it is not possible to cross the Bridge of Sighs as a regular city bridge. This is because it is part of the visit route of the Ducal Palace, one of the most important museums in Venice. Once inside the Palace, you will follow the Secret Itinerary that will lead you through various historic rooms, including the New Prisons and, of course, the Bridge of Sighs.
The view of the bridge from the inside is certainly fascinating, but to fully appreciate its architectural beauty, we recommend observing it from the outside as well. The best viewpoints are from the Bridge of Straw or by gondola along the Rio di Palazzo.
Tips for the visit
To visit the Bridge of Sighs, it is advisable to book tickets for the Ducal Palace online to avoid long queues. The guided tour of the Secret Itinerary is very popular and often booked out, so it is recommended to book well in advance.
Remember to bring a camera or smartphone with you to capture the evocative view of the bridge. Also, dress appropriately to visit a place of great historical and cultural importance.
The Bridge of Sighs is a place where architectural beauty and history merge, a place where visitors can plunge into Venice’s past and experience the emotions that prisoners may have felt while crossing this tragic passage. Do not miss the opportunity to visit this incredible monument during your visit to Venice: it will be an experience you will remember forever.