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The beautiful bridges of Venice

Please only travel when it’s safe to do so.

Venice… Such a romantic city

One of the most beautiful places in Italy!

A favorite muse of poets and writers over the centuries, the City of Canals built on water is also known as the City of Bridges.

But who knew more than 400 bridges link Venice’s calle (streets), campi (squares) and canals?

Having gotten lost countless times wandering all over the city, we’ve set foot upon many of these Venice bridges.

Venice bridges

Venice bridges – more than 400!

The bridges in Venice were originally made of wood.

Today, most are now stone bridges with an arch in the middle.

Bridge of Sighs

Perhaps the most famous bridge in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs
The limestone Bridge of Sighs is enclosed except for a few small windows with stone bars

The most famous bridge in Venice – certainly the most poignant – is the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri).

Named by Lord Byron, it links the Doge’s Palace with the prisons.

When prisoners in days gone by crossed the bridge on their way to their cell or execution, they’d look out the small bridge windows at Venice for one last time – and let out a forlorn sigh.

To cross this bridge yourself, take a Doge’s Palace tour.

You’ll dive into the fascinating world of Venetian intrigue, politics and power – including learning about the “secret denunciations” letter slot, where you could tattle on someone you thought was breaking the law by slipping a note through the mouth of a sculpted lion.

Bridge of Sighs
View of Venice from the Bridge of Sighs

Getting back to the Bridge of Sighs, legend also has it that if you kiss your honey under it at sunset, just as the bells of St. Mark’s Campanile ring, you’ll enjoy eternal love.

Rialto Bridge

Bridges of Venice: Rialto Bridge
The 16th century Rialto Bridge crosses over the narrowest part of the Grand Canal

Dating back to 1591, the current Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal.

We’ve crossed it more times than we can remember – especially when hunting down a particular restaurant in the area we’d heard served great food in Venice. (We never did find that restaurant.)

Shops selling leather goods and jewelry line the Rialto Bridge; we once bought some lovely glass bead earrings from a little stall.

The historic fish and vegetable market is nearby. (Go early in the morning for a more authentic experience.)

Academy Bridge

While the current Academy Bridge (Ponte dell Accademia) is one of Venice’s newer bridges (built in 1933), it is a wooden bridge with metal arches.

One of four bridges crossing the Grand Canal, it leads to one of Venice’s best museums, the Galleria dell Accademia.

The Academy Bridge crosses near the southern end of the Grand Canal (Credit: Flickr, Joe Shlabotnik)

Less famous bridges in Venice

Other Venice bridges are less well-known.

An intrepid photographer once walked across and photographed 100 less-seen bridges in just over 14 hours.

Venice: City of Bridges
A pair of lesser-known bridges – but still beautiful…

Recommended reading: How do you get from the Venice cruise port to Venice or the train station?

View from Venice’s gondolas

Traveling under the bridges?

Well, that’s famously done on a gondola ride in Venice.

City of Bridges: Venice gondoliers
Even gondoliers need to take a break, right?

And looking up from your gondola in the water, your view of the city changes.

Iconic scene: Venice gondolas bob on the water

In the words of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow…

“… White phantom city, whose untrodden streets are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting shadows of the palaces and strips of sky.”

Enough said…

Where to stay? We know 7 of the most romantic hotels in Venice, Italy for all budgets (from a 3-star affordable palazzo to a celeb-worthy splurge)

Experience more of Europe!

Read our posts on:

Dresden | What to do in Dresden? Gape at the treasure in the historic Green Vault museum. See the beautiful Zwinger Palace. Bicycle along the Elbe River. And more!

Mallorca | Hiking the oh-so-picturesque countryside? Swimming at ravishing beach coves? Touring manor houses oozing with history? Check out these 29 delightful things to do in Mallorca.

Canary Islands | With misty forests, eerie craters and soaring volcanic cliffs, La Palma island has some fabulous hiking.


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Venice: The Beautiful City of Bridges

Photo credits: 3, 8, 9 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


What bridges in Venice have you crossed?


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, luxury hotel reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Robin

Saturday 6th of May 2017

Regarding your first picture on the page with the caption, A favorite muse of poets and writers over the centuries, the “City of Canals” built on water is also known as the “City of Bridges.”, I wonder if you remember where in Venice you found this bridge. I took a picture of this same bridge in October of 1992. Our pictures look amazingly similar! I have no idea where it was. We had one day in Venice and we were lost for most of it. Anyway, we loved the picture so much we had my mother paint an oil painting of this scene. I am now returning to Venice next week (my first trip back since 1992) and I am taking my mother for her 80th birthday (her first trip to Europe). I'd love to be able to find this bridge so she can see it in person. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

Janice and George

Saturday 6th of May 2017

What a lovely birthday present for your mother! She'll love Venice :-). We were lost for much of the time in Venice too. But I (Janice) have a suspicion this photo was taken near the American Hotel. It looks out over a canal (and on one Venice visit, we stayed here). I hope I'm pointing you in the right direction... Do let us know after your trip if you find the bridge -- and if it is near the American Hotel :-). Have an awesome trip!

Milena Yordanova

Monday 17th of August 2015

Beautiful photos! Venice is such a romantic city with all these small streets and bridges.

Janice and George

Monday 17th of August 2015

It is so romantic, isn't it? One of our favorite cities :-)

David

Saturday 2nd of August 2014

I haven't visited Venice, but it's beauty, food and threatened status puts in my top 10 cities to see in Europe ... hope to see it in the next year or two!

Laquel

Tuesday 29th of July 2014

Such lovely pictures! I visited Venice when I was a kid and have such great memories. I can't wait to go back and explore as an adult and take in all the beautiful history and architecture! I'll be on a mission to see as many of these smaller bridges as well! Thanks so much for sharing!

Irene S. Levine

Saturday 26th of July 2014

Your photos really capture the ambiance of this one-of-a-kind place~