I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs,

a palace and a prison on each hand.

I saw from out the wave her structures rise

As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand

–Lord Byron

Venice Bridge of SighsThe Bridge of Sighs is a beautiful limestone structure standing between the Doge Palace and New Prison. The bridge hangs ominously over the Rio di Palazzo with sculptures staring down at the waters with faces of anguish and despair. This architectural ingenuity was created to connect the interrogation rooms located within the Doge Palace and the criminal quarters inside the prison. This bridge is said to be the accused’s final glimpse of the Venetian waterways as the remainder of their lives will be spent in a cell. Lord Byron’s famous Venetian poem writes of his travel from the palace to the prison and his farewell to the magical city that lives on the sea. Despite this bridge’s dark and mysterious beginnings, it has become an iconic attraction for tourists worldwide. In fact, local legend posits that lovers will be promised eternal love and happiness if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under this very bridge, as the bells of St. Mark’s Campanile toll.

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