Ponte de Lima literally means «Lima bridge». According to the legend, when the Romans reached this point on their march through Iberia they had a great deal of trouble leaving because the soldiers were convinced the Rio Lima was the River Lethes - the mythical river of oblivion - and that if they crossed it they would forget everything. It was only after their leader, Decimus Junius Brutus, plunged ahead and shouted back their legionaries' names that they braved the waters.
The Roman bridge after which Ponte de Lima is named supposedly marks the very spot, and is part of the Roman road from Braga, Portugal to Astorga, Spain. It is just one of several well-preserved historical features which give the town its character.