The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge in Venice, northern Italy.
The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge ), and built at the very beginning of 17th century.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells. In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. In addition, little could be seen from inside the Bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows.
A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge Of Sighs. The name "Bridge of Sighs" has since been applied by association to other similar covered bridges around the world, foremost Ponte dei Sospiri.
Visitors of the Doge's Palace are also welcomed to see the interior of the Bridge. From outside it can be odserved by throse passing under it through a canal.