Bridge of Sighs: Facts and Information About the Ponte dei Sospiri

Here are some facts about the Bridge of Sighs.

  • The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most popular sights in Venice, Italy. It crosses the Rio di Palazzo and connects part of the Doge’s Palace with the new prison.

  • It was built of white limestone in 1600, and designed by Antonio Contino. It is one of 400 bridges in the city, which cross 400 canals.
  • Nobody is certain how the Bridge of Sighs got its name. It may have been from prisoners sighing as they walked across the bridge to the prison.
  • The bridge was built from white limestone from Istria, about 200 km away. The outside of the bridge is lined with sculptures of happy and sad faces.
  • There are several other bridges around the world with the same name. The Bridge of Sighs at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas is an exact copy, but smaller. There are also ones in Cambridge and Oxford in the UK.
  • Tradition has it that a couple will be happy forever if they kiss in a gondola at sunset under the bridge. The 1979 film A Little Romance has a plot based on this legend.
  • A tourist was hit in the leg by a piece of marble falling from the bridge in 2007. The incident led to restoration of the bridge which cost the equivalent of 3 million pounds.

Bridge of Sighs

  • Casanova was one of the most famous people to walk across the Bridge of Sighs. However, he was able to escape from the supposedly secure prison after being held for just 15 months.
  • The Romantic poet Byron mentioned the bridge in an 1812 book. He wrote “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; a palace and a prison on each hand.”
  • Inside the bridge are two narrow passages separated by a wall, and windows covered with grills. The interior can only be seen by visitors who go on a guided walk of the Doge’s Palace.

Italy: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Italy.

  • Italy, often described as shaped like a boot, is a country in southern Europe. It covers about 301,000 square km and is bordered by France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia.
  • With a population of about 61 million, it is the 5th most populous European country. It is known for its art, historic towns and cities, fine food and wine and high standard of living.

  • Rome is the largest city and capital, with almost 3 million residents. Other popular destinations include Venice, Milan, Florence, Pisa, Naples and the isle of Capri.
  • Rome was once the largest city in the world and the centre of the huge Roman Empire. Famous city landmarks include the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and St. Peter’s Cathedral.
  • The Italian city of Pompeii was completely buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The volcanic ash and gas reached a height of 33 km and killed about 16,000 people.
  • Vatican City is the world’s smallest state, covering just 108 acres and is entirely surrounded by Rome. It has its own post office, radio and TV station, stamps and currency.
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa has become a symbol of Italy. The 56 metre high tower was built during the 12th century and leans almost 4 metres from the vertical.

Flag of Italy

  • Ice cream, coffee, fruit pies and pizza all originated in Italy. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, although Italians have been eating pizza since the 10th century.
  • Some of the world’s most famous artists painted during the Italian Renaissance, including Titian, Raphael and Botticelli. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City was designed by Michelangelo.
  • Italy was the birthplace of opera, and the cello, violin and piano were invented there.
  • The country hosts the world’s oldest film festival, the Venice Film Festival, which was first held in 1932.

Rome: Facts About the Capital of Italy

Here are some facts about Rome.

  • Rome has a population of almost 2.7 million and is Italy’s capital and largest city. It is located on the River Tiber, almost exactly in the middle of the country.
  • Rome was founded in 753 BC, and every April residents celebrate its founding. It may have been named after the twins Romulus and Remus who were cared for by a wolf.

  • The world’s smallest country, Vatican City, is surrounded entirely by Rome. It covers just 44 hectares and has its own post office, railway station, currency and police force.
  • Rome has featured in many films, including Spartacus, La Dolce Vita, Roman Holiday and Angels and Demons.
  • The city is twinned with Paris, and partner cities include Cairo, London and Tokyo.
  • Rome’s most famous building is the Colosseum, built in around 70 AD, for gladiator fights. The huge arena could hold 80,000 people and has influenced the design of many modern stadiums.
  • The Pantheon was built in 27 BC as a temple. It still has one of the largest unsupported concrete domes in the world, which measures 43 metres across.
  • St. Peter’s is the largest church in the world, and covers 21,000 square metres of floor space. It is almost 140 metres high and measures over 210 metres from front to back.
  • Two offbeat sites in Rome include the pasta museum, and the Park of the Monsters, containing scary figures carved out of rock.
  • The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous in the world. An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day, and throwing in a coin is said to ensure a return to Rome.
  • There are at least 40 catacombs deep under Rome’s streets, stretching for over 250 km. The Capuchin crypt is decorated with the old bones of 4,000 dead monks.