Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is a small bridge in Venice, northern Italy. The bridge has walls and a roof. It is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons 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 in 1602.
The view from the windows of the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge was named by Lord Byron in the 19th century. It was thought that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the windows 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.
The name "Bridge of Sighs" has since been applied by association to other similar covered bridges around the world, including:
- Puente de los Suspiros ("Bridge of Sighs" in Spanish), a bridge in the city of Barranco, Lima, Peru
- A bridge in Cambridge, England
- A bridge in Oxford, England
- A bridge in Stockholm, Sweden
- A bridge in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- A bridge in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Santa Barbara, California
- The Virginia Street Bridge in Reno, Nevada, known for being the place where newly-divorced women coming from the Washoe County Courthouse would toss their wedding rings into the Truckee River.
- It was the inspiration for a bridge built in 1884 between the Allegheny County Courthouse and the old county jail in downtown Pittsburgh, USA. It has been deemed a National Historic Landmark.
- One of the few natural arches in the Grand Canyon that is visible from the Colorado River (at mile 35.6, approx 57.3 km on the right). It is located in Redwall limestone and has a span of 4 metres (15 feet) and a height of 9 metres (30 feet).
- A reproduction of the bridge is featured in Volume 1 of the science fiction manga Aria, by Kozue Amano.
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