Ponte di Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs). Architect: Antonio Contino. 1600. The sixteenth-century bridge over the Rio di Palazzo della Paglia connects to the Palazzo Ducale to the new prison. Photograph by George P. Landow, © October 2000. It may be used for any scholarly or educational purpose without permission, as long as the previous credit appears.
The Bridge of Sighs was made famous by Lord Byron and other Romantics, but Ruskin thought too much had been made of it and mentioned it rather disparagingly in The Stones of Venice. Of course, for him it also exemplifies the despised Renaissance style with its supposed restraint, patches of unembelished surface, and symmetries — which Ruskin believed signalled the worker's loss of freedom and pleasure in his work.