Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eternal Love or Eternal Misery

The locals tell of a legend that if a couple kiss as they float under The Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiri to give it its proper name, on a gondola at sunset – they will experience eternal love.

The other, less romantic legend associated with the 16th century bridge is that of misery and unhappiness. The bridge passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace from whence the guilty walked across the bridge to their ultimate fate.

In the 19th century, Lord Byron gave the bridge the ominous title of The Bridge of Sighs because he believed many prisoners sighed as they crossed the bridge assuming this would be their last view of their beautiful Venice before they were taken to the dungeons below.

The bridge was designed by a famous family member Antoni Contina. It was Antoni’s uncle Antonio da Ponte who designed the Rialto Bridge.