Monday, July 30, 2012

Postcard from Venice: The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri. Photo taken on June 2012. 
For something that looks so romantic, the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian) seems to be inappropriately named.
The bridge that crosses the Rio di Palazzo, designed by Antoni Contino (said to be akin with the designer of the Rialto Bridge) to connect the prison rooms to the interrogation rooms of the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale), was named as such as offenders were said to have sighed here upon looking at the beautiful scenery of Venezia before they get their sentence. But with the way this limestone structure was built, I wonder how prisoners are able to see a view from inside. As you can see from the picture, the holes from the stone grills of the windows barely provide whatever view there is in the outside world. But for whatever past this bridge has, Ponte dei Sospiri is probably one of the most photographed places in Venice because of its sheer beauty and charm. If ever you think of spending 100 euros for a gondola ride, don't forget to pass by this place and kiss your beloved as your gondola glides underneath, as legend has it that you will be granted with "eternal love and bliss," as Wikipedia put it.

Gondolas docked right in front of Piazza San Marco.

Tip sheet:

* A view of the bridge is FREE but if you want to get inside, entrance to the Palazzo Ducale costs about 13 euros, which already includes access to the bridge.

* A vaporetto ride to San Marco costs less than 2 euros. If you're spending a day or two in Venice, it is best to buy an unlimited 24-hour pass, which costs 16,50 euros (I just like writing the prices like the Europeans do, hehe). The Vaporetto dell'Arte, which is also an unlimited ferry ride for 24 hours, costs 30 euros. The only difference is the audio guide while you're cruising the canals plus the free earphones. Based from my experience, I wasn't really able to listen to the audio guide as I was busy taking pictures. So if you're like me, you'll do without the audio guide so opt for the cheaper option.

* For best photo ops, best time to see the bridge is before noon time (the photo above was taken at around mid-afternoon, thus the absence of sun rays).

* A gondola ride costs about 100 euros. Prices vary so before hopping on to these beautiful watercraft, be sure that the price is settled between you and the gondolier. I didn't try (but when I come back, I'd love to try it). I've heard the gondoliers also serve as tour guides. My mom, who previously went to The Venetian in Macao and Las Vegas, was expecting gondoliers singing in their beautiful tenor voices as is the practice in these lavish hotels. I didn't hear any of those during my two-day stay. But I may have just missed it.


Pedometer_version_one_point_oh said...

Labs, I love your blog posts. You have a passion for traveling, writing, and exploring. You touch something very human in your expressions of your travels. I labs labs it! Thanks for sharing, it's wonderful reading through your experience.

Jackie Champion said...

Hey! How I wish I could visit this place someday. You have a very informative and interesting page. Keep writing good stuff like this. I'll be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. I had so much fun reading and of course to have additional learnings from you with this blog. Kudos! Thank you so much for sharing with us an information about this one. This is a good read!
Based on what I have read on a website, Gondolas are handmade using 8 different types of wood (fir, oak, cherry, walnut, elm, mahogany, larch and lime) and are composed of 280 pieces. The oars are made of beech wood. The left side of the gondola is made longer than the right side. This asymmetry causes the gondola to resist the tendency to turn toward the left at the forward stroke. It is a common misconception that the gondola is a paddled vessel when the correct term is rowed i.e. "I rowed my gondola to work".
Extensive measures have been taken to protect the Cenacolo fresco from further damage. To ensure that the fresco is kept at room temperature, admission has been restricted to a maximum of 25 visitors at any one time since the 1999 reopening.

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Gerard dela Pena said...

Thanks for dropping by, Jackie!

69a86444-9071-11e2-a885-000bcdcb471e said...

I can't believe that this beautiful place was a prison room before. It's perfect for couples who are in a honeymoon.

Hotel a Venezia