The Bridge of Sighs

Faced with power struggles inside Venice and threats from invaders outside, you can forgive a Doge for being a little paranoid. Accordingly they were not bashful about disposing of anyone who was, or was rumored to be, interested in taking over.

Originally, the palace dungeons and torture chambers were housed in the basement. But, due to overflow crowds down there a new, connecting building was created to give prisoners more room to stretch, or be stretched, depending on the nature of their crime. To connect the buildings a bridge was built with two lanes of traffic, one inbound and the other outbound. It is not hard to imagine which was more heavily traveled. This is the bridge:


A close-up:


This became known as the Bridge of Sighs because prisoners would look out the window at their last breath of fresh air and last glimpse of sunlight, possibly ever, and sigh. Or, so the story goes.

This, minus the gondola, was their view:


As it so happens, we encountered a young prisoner sighing on that very bridge. Although she was told a thousand times not to mess with politics the message never got through. Now she must pay the price.


After crossing the bridge, things take a downhill turn:


Early on, you get the idea that the government plans for you to stay a while:


Here is our prisoner searching for a cell that meets her requirements for comfort and the proper amenities:


Yes! Perfect!


Nicely appointed and lots of companionship for those lonesome hours:


Fortunately she likes her mattress extra firm! So do her roomies!


Even better, the cell next door is occupied by a community of artists!


Let’s see what works they left that have survived the ages:


Hard to imagine what they must have been thinking about.


There are a lot of recurring themes, no doubt after hours of artistic discussion.


At least, if you were a prisoner in Venice, you found comfort knowing you weren’t alone:


Next, we’ll take you for a ride on one of those gondolas and we’ll see what’s down the canal!



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