Sunday, June 23, 2013

Venice's Bridge of Sighs

My best friend Jen and I met when we were both high school English teachers 15 years ago in Killeen, TX.  For as long as I've known her, she's had a fascination with the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.  It started with a movie called A Little Romance, which stars a very young Diane Lane and a mischievous girl who runs off to Venice with a boy.  Here's a clip of the trailer:

The premise of the movie is that the girl and boy both believe that if you kiss your true love under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset, your love will last forever.  The movie is cheesy as hell, but totally awesome if you're watching it for pure nostalgia.  

So last year, when Jen came to visit me for a few weeks, the number one thing to do on our bucket list was to get our butts to Venice, into a gondola, and under the Bridge of Sighs.  The "kissing your true love" part would have to come later.

If you've never heard of the Bridge of Sighs, here's a little history.  The story is that the Bridge of Sighs is what connects the Doge's Palace to the neighboring prison next door.  Built in the early 1600's by a man by the name of Antoni Contoni (who's uncle built the Rialto bridge in Venice), the Bridge of Sighs provided the convicts of Venice with their last view of the city and the sea as they walked from the Palace to their sentence in prison. Architecturally, the bridge is interesting because its completely covered and there are few like it in the world.

The bridge from our gondola ride

If you look closely, you can just see a tiny bit of the bridge peeking out between the Doge's Palace and the prison

We carefully selected our gondolier (I'll tell you about our gondola ride in another post) and off we went.  In just a matter of minutes, we made it to the bridge because we picked a gondola closely located to it. We glided slowly under the bridge with our cameras flashing!  What an awesome moment!

We went home hot but happy!

A year later, (just the other day) I headed back to the bridge with my family who had come to visit.  This time, we decided to visit the Doge's Palace--something that I'd never really had much interest in before. The Doge's Palace was so awesome, it deserves a post all to itself, but the interesting thing is that the Bridge of Sighs was included on the tour of the palace.  I had absolutely NO idea the bridge was open to tours and I was so excited!! We got to walk across it and to look inside the prison cells on the other side.  We each stuck our fingers through the spaces in the windows in the bridge and imagined what it would have been like for the prisoners who walked across the bridge, looking out from the windows at what might have been their last view of Venice. The view was breathtaking, but I couldn't help but think about Jen and just how much I miss her, especially in this place she loves so much!

View of the bridge from the Doge's Palace

 Looking through the window on the bridge

 The tiny walkway to the cells

A cell--it was soooo tiny!

Video of me looking at of the bridge--and yes, I'm over here is amazing, but being so far away from the people we love is never easy

Happy Sunday!

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  1. We were in Venice in March. I loved the Doge's Palace and I loved the Bridge of Sighs. Those prison cells really freaked me out!

  2. We did Venice/Verona in April. Loved it!


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