Spanning the narrow Rio di Palazzo canal, the Ponte dei Sospiri – or Bridge of Sighs – connects the Doge’s Palace with a 16th-century prison. Legend has it that its wistful name comes from the gasps of prisoners getting their last glimpse of Venice through its tiny latticed windows. Over the centuries, this pretty limestone arch has gradually become a symbol of romance.
To see the Bridge of Sighs from dry land, you’ll need to head to the neighbouring bridges of Ponte della Paglia or Ponte della Canonica. Here are five of the best apartments nearby.*
Venice Heaven Apartments - Ca Giulia
Unwind with a drink on your sheltered private terrace
This top-floor apartment is every bit as dreamy as its name suggests, with rustic beamed ceilings, a sunny terrace and views of the rooftops of Venice. While the building dates back to 1700, Venice Heaven Apartments - Ca Giulia is furnished with modern appliances and air conditioning, while cherry red brightens up everything from cushions and throws to dining chairs and kitchen cabinets, and there are fresh flowers everywhere. From here, it’s a 2-minute walk to both the Ponte della Canonica – which looks onto the Bridge of Sighs – and St Mark’s Square.
Schiavoni Design San Marco
Inside, you’ll find high beamed ceilings and vintage light fittings
With its exposed beams, polished terrazzo floors and antique chandeliers, stepping inside Schiavoni Design San Marco is a bit like stepping back in time. This spacious 4-bedroom apartment has plenty of mod cons too, from free WiFi to a washing machine. There are two balconies that open onto Calle de le Rasse, one of the most famous streets in Venice, while one of the bedrooms overlooks the Rio del Vin canal. Within 150 metres you’ll find Ponte della Canonica, where there’s a gondola stop and views of the Bridge of Sighs.
Bedrooms have brocade headboards and candle-style lights
Ca Palazzo is tucked away on a tiny alley, two minutes from the Bridge of Sighs and St Mark’s Square. Easily big enough for four, this practical apartment is kitted out with simple white walls, wooden furniture and brocade bedspreads. Its top-floor location means you can even gaze out over the Doge’s Palace from the living room windows. The friendly owners meet guests at nearby San Zaccharia vaporetto station and share tips on the most authentic local restaurants. One of their favourites is Rosticceria Gislon, just an 8-minute stroll away near the Rialto Bridge.
Marina Apartment 1
There’s a big living-dining area with a table that seats six
This spacious 2-bedroom apartment has a traditional Venetian feel, with authentic palazzo flooring and local prints decorating the walls. Marina Apartment 1 is located on one of Venice’s best-known streets, just a couple of minutes from the Ponte della Paglia. From here you can get photo-worthy views of the Bridge of Sighs, before crossing the canal to reach St Mark’s Square. The apartment is also a few doors away from Birreria Forst, a microbrewery and wine bar that’s popular with off-duty gondoliers.
Residenza Dei Dogi
The hand-painted frescoes in the lounge date back centuries
Residenza Dei Dogi been renovated to bring together the best of old and new – the living room’s period furniture and 400-year-old frescoes contrasting with state-of-the-art kitchen appliances and sleek hotel-style bathrooms. Right outside the front door, you’ll find Trattoria alla Rivetta, an old-school Venetian eatery that specialises in seafood. Follow the street towards the Canonica Bridge, and you’ll get beautiful views of the Bridge of Sighs beyond it.
**The data scientists at Booking.com used internal data to find the closest, most highly rated properties to the Bridge of Sighs.