I was told there are four bridges called the “Bridge of Sighs” worldwide. The most famous is in Venice, but Cambridge, Oxford, and Las Vegas each have one too. The one in Las Vegas is a re-creation of the Venetian bridge, but the two in the UK don’t follow the same design.
While Googling “The Bridge of Sighs” I discovered what I’d been told was wrong: there are more than four. There’s one in New York, one in the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh, one in Germany, and one in Chester, England. While under the impression there were only four, I thought it’d be neat to try to see them all, especially since I’m relatively close to so many. Now that I know there are more, I don’t really care about seeing all of them.
You may have noticed that a picture of the Venetian Bridge of Sighs was missing from my blog post on Venice. Well, I thought I’d missed it. There are so many things to see that once we arrived in Venice, I completely forgot about the do-not-misses. The four of us (Sidney, Marcelle, Zach, and me) ran around eating, shopping, and taking pictures without even realizing we had this major site to seek out. That evening, while talking to a local painter selling his work on the street, we realized we never looked for the Bridge of Sighs, and by this point it was too late to find it (we had a plane to catch).
A day or two later I was scrolling through my camera’s pictures and found a couple of this startlingly beautiful bridge in Venice–“Is this the Bridge of Sighs?” Yes! We had seen it. It was the first bridge we found.
I even have a picture of Sidney and Marcelle in front of it.
Now, I knew I’d seen the Cambridge Bridge of Sighs. I’ve been punting twice, and the punter always points it out when we pass by Saint John’s College (part of U. of Cambridge). Of course, I never took a picture of it. (Idiot.) Here’s a photo I pilfered from Sidney:
The Bridge of Sighs in Venice connects the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace to the old prisons. It received its name in the 19th century from Lord Byron, and the idea was that prisoners would sigh as they looked out the bridge’s windows, seeing Venice for the last time before being taken to their cells. The Cambridge Bridge of Sighs connects the living quarters at St. John’s to the exam rooms, so students supposedly sigh on their way to exams. The Oxford Bridge of Sighs has a similar story as Cambridge. So I’ve seen two of what I’ll call the main four bridges. They’re both quite stunning despite their dark implications.
Thinking we’d missed seeing the most essential tourist attraction of Venice, Sidney and Marcelle gave us a painting of Venice’s bridge. We were so upset when we thought we’d missed it. Since we didn’t, though, we can throw this painting away.