Bridge of Sighs
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The Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri) is a bridge located 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 (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antonio Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge) and was built in 1600.
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 as the bells of St Mark's Campanile toll. This legend served as a plot line for the movie A Little Romance, featuring Laurence Olivier and Diane Lane.
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, which Renzo insists is the true Puente de los suspiros.
- 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 constructed 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 bridge at The Venetian in Las Vegas
- "Ponte dei Sospiri (the Bridge of Sighs)". travelandleisure.com.
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