The Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiri, got its name from the sighs of the prisoners passing through it. It is where they caught the last glimpse of freedom before entering the prisons of the Doge's Palace. The beautiful bridge, noticeable from Riva degli Schiavoni, overlooks the Rio di Palazzo. It connects the Doge's Palace with the prisons built there at the end of the 16th century.

Enclosed Ponte dei Sospiri, made of Istrian stone, is an excellent example of Baroque architecture. Its design was the work of Antonio Conti, done at the request of Doge Grimani. Many tourists consider this place a symbol of love and one of the icons of the city of Venice. Together with the Rialto Bridge, it is one of the most famous bridges in the world.

The prisoners, interrogated by the infamous Council of Ten, walked on this bridge. The function of the Council was to control and repress any threat to the freedom of Venice. The Terrible Ten or Terribili Dieci was famous in Europe for the ferocity of their sentences. The cells in the Palazzo delle Carceri and other minor prisons around the Doge's Palace evoke the horrors of medieval repression.