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Bridge of Sighs

According to legend, convicts would sigh as they walked this bridge before being imprisoned in the Prigioni Nuove.

TravelCurious Tip

The Bridge of Sighs is definitely worth getting up early for – the crowds during the afternoons can be unbearable.

It may not have the bold modernity of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the sheer size of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the understated little Bridge of Sighs is unquestionably one of the most famous in the world. It is built of gleaming white limestone, standing out clearly against the swirling emerald-green water below, and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms of the Doge’s Palace.


A Little White Sigh

The bridge’s unusual name comes from an old local legend. Supposedly, convicted men being led from their interrogation cell to prison, or to death, would gaze out the windows of the bridge and would sigh miserably, realising that they were glimpsing the beauty of Venice for the final time. A charming picture indeed, but sadly untrue. For one thing, there is almost nothing to see from that angle – even the most determinedly nostalgic prisoner would struggle to muster a sigh looking out at the bare walls of the Rio di Palazzo. Moreover, the days of the executioner were long over by the time the bridge was built, and the cells were mostly occupied by petty criminals.


Regulating Eternal Love

Fortunately, it is not the view from the bridge, nor the number of summary executions, that draw the crowds to this spot. It has become an internationally recognised symbol of romantic love. It is said that if a couple kiss while drifting on a gondola beneath the bridge at sunset, then they will bask in the glow of eternal love. These rather specific requirements caused amusingly unromantic and heated arguments between beneath the bridge for several years, until, in the true spirit of love, access to the canal below was limited by the authorities.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Venice
Doge's Palace
Originally home to Venice’s most powerful man, this Gothic masterpiece is one of the city’s top attractions.
St Mark’s Square
Enclosed by spectacular buildings, St Mark's is one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
St Mark's Basilica
Formerly the Doge’s chapel and famous for its sumptuous design, the Church of Gold will leave you breathless.
Church of San Zaccaria
This magnificent and tranquil church features wonderful paintings, including a stunning altarpiece by Bellini.
Museo Correr
This extensive collection in St Mark's Square illustrates the life and culture of the Venetian Republic, as well as displaying exquisite bronzes and paintings.
St Mark’s Bell Tower
The bell tower of St Mark's Basilica, located in the Piazza San Marco

Related Tours

Private Tour of Venice in a Day inc Tickets
Discover the architectural and artistic highlights of Venice on this full day tour!

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House  (entrance not included)
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
  • Conclude at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Venetian Highlights

Begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space, this square is enclosed by the astonishing St Mark’s Basilica and the magnificent Doge’s Palace. We will make a visit to the Doge’s Palace, built in 812, which is one of the best examples of Venetian gothic architecture. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is another superb building that will be sure to capture your attention. St Mark’s Basilica is deemed to be an icon of Italian art and culture and the city’s top highlight. 

Bridging 118 Islands

You will walk on to discover more about the iconic house of Marco Polo, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo and Campo S, as well as marvelling at the beauty of Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. We will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge- Rialto. Famous as the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place to buy beautiful Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will conclude our tour admiring dozens of Tintoretto Paintings in the breathtaking building of Scuola Grande di San Rocco, named after St. Rocco, the saint protector against the devastation of plague.
Private Tour of Venice in a Half Day inc Tickets
Enjoy a whistle-stop tour of Venice, which is particularly useful for those short on time or new to the city.

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House 
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
Iconic Locations

The itinerary will begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space; this square is enclosed by the stunning St Mark’s Basilica and the absolutely magnificent Doge’s Palace. You will make a visit to the palace, originally built in 812, and celebrated as one of the best examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the city. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is St Mark’s Basilica, deemed as an icon of Italian art and culture; it is indeed one of the city’s top highlight. 

Onto the Rialto Bridge

You will then walk on to discover more about Marco Polo’s House, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo & Campo S. Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. You will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge - the Rialto. Famous for being the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place in Venice to buy Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will then take a leisurely stroll around the bustling Rialto Market, a picturesque shopping area primarily selling fish and vegetables to the Venetians for more than seven centuries.
Become a Gondolier!
Sure there's something idyllic about being a languishing tourist in a Venetian gondola, but have you ever considered the years of practice it takes to become a master gondolier? This unmissable experience takes you from a tourist-passenger to a novice gondolier, giving you insight into the challenging skill the locals make look seamless. 

On your tour, 
  • Enjoy hotel pick-up  with a traditional Venetian boat 
  • Learn the basic techniques and positions necessary to row a gondola 
  • Celebrate (or calm your jittery nerves) with an aperitif following your lesson
  • Leave with a signed certificate from a master gondolier proving you too have gained a new skill 
A Venetian guide will welcome you on board a traditional gondola from the 1700s, before giving you an introduction to the basic techniques, positions, and movements typically used to row. Once you feel confident, you will row the gondola yourself! Cross the stunning mazes of canals and bridges across the city, and explore Venice from an authentic perspective. Celebrate your first rowing lesson with a deserved Venetian aperitif at the Caneva (rowing pier) to conclude your tour. 
Private Walking Tour of the Doge's Palace inc Tickets
Your private tour of iconic Venice takes you into one of the cities most storied sites.  
 
  • Visit the 14th century masterpiece: Doge's Palace 
  • See works by Titian and Tintoretto, including the world’s longest canvas painting  
  • Learn the history of Venice under the lifetime appointments of doges 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture, especially the gothic tradition present throughout the palace  
  • Enjoy skip-the-line access to Doge’s Palace, Correr Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca Marciana 
There is no better way to understand the power which Venice which had over the over world than by a private, guided tour of Doge’s Palace. 
 
For over a thousand years beginning in the eighth century, Venice was ruled by doges – elected magistrates who served for life. While the process for selecting doges changed throughout the millennium, the singular law was simply that no doge could pass his title on to a member of his own family. 
 
While the original wood structure burned down, the building which stands today is still a staggering 700 years old. From its ornate wood carvings to its larger-than-life facades, the palace is more than just a historical sight – it’s an architectural masterpiece and a visual feast. Whilst touring the palace, see works by Titian, Tintoretto, and Tiepolo amongst others.
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