Tourism: bridge of sighs restoration complete in Venice

01 December, 12:02

(ANSAmed) - VENICE, DECEMBER 1 - The scaffolding and advertizing came down from Venice's famous Bridge of Sighs after a three-year restoration project officially ended Wednesday. "It has returned to the city," said Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni of the bridge that connects the Ducal Palace and the one-time prison of the Doges.

In 2008, workers began fixing the damage to the famed monument and the facades of the buildings it links. A decision to sponsor the repairs by selling advertizing space on the bridge was a source of controversy over the years as critics called the billboards an eyesore. The Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, was so named by Lord Byron because it would have been the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment.

Built between 1600 and 1603, the white marble bridge was designed by Antonio Contino - whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge.

A local legend says that lovers will be assured eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge.

This legend played a key part in the 1979 film A Little Romance starring Laurence Olivier and Diane Lane. (ANSAmed).

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