Venice was constructed on a series of 117 islands connected by ornately carved bridges.
Arguably one of the most unique is the Bridge of Sighs. In Italian, it is known as the Ponte dei Sospiri. Built high up to connect Venice’s historical old prisons to the Doge’s Palace, it was so termed the Bridge of Sighs by Lord Byron in the 19th century.
The romantic term came about from the idea that prisoners would cross the bridge on their way to their cells -or to an even worse fate- sighing at what was potentially their last sight of the stunning view of Venice outside.
Charming as this story is, by the time of Lord Byron, summary executions were a thing of the past. As such, the bridge would have been crossed by those accused of petty crimes who would have not have been facing too long in the lock up.
There is however another Bridge of Sighs legend that holds much more weight.
It is that if you manage to kiss your loved one at sunset, passing under the bridge in a gondola, your love will last forever.
The Bridge of Sighs was built in 1602 by Antonio Contino, nephew of Rialto Bridge designer Antonio da Ponte.
Seeing the Bridge of Sighs is on our must-see list of things to do in Venice along with:
Sit in a coffee shop and enjoy a coffee, and perhaps one of the delicious sweet biscotti, or a traditional cocktail or glass of wine.
Visit San Marco (St Mark’s).
Eat at a lovely out-of-the-way canal side restaurant.
Have a gondola ride.
Or better learn to be a gondolier and how to row gondola style with a two hour relaxing and enjoyable semi-private lesson on Venice’s beautiful lagoons.
Cruise down the Grand Canal.
Visit the Palazzo Ducale.
To see the sites of Venice with a great tour guide, we have 4 great Venice tours added into one unique Venice tours discount package. In one glorious afternoon, have a ride in a gondola on our small-group Original Gondola Tour.
Conclude your day with a relaxing ride on the Grand Canal in a tradition Motoscafo water boat on the small-group Grand Canal tour.
These Venice tours are part of our super-discounted Grand Italy Tour discounted tour package including small-group tours in Rome and small-group tours in Florence.