The Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Nov 15, 2021 157

The Bridge of Sighs is a very pleasant solution to a very grim problem. In 1600 Venice’s prisons for common criminals were being moved from the ground floor of the Doge’s Palace to a building across a narrow canal from the Palace. The question was how to get the inmates who had just had confessions wrung out of them in the torture chamber into the new building.

A passageway cum bridge was needed and a young architect named Antonio Contino was chosen for the job. His creation was a small, enclosed span of white limestone with stone bars covering the windows. It has become famous due to a mix of its whimsical look, a very sad history, and probably a bit of poetic license by the Romantics. Like many parts of Venice, its facts and lore are difficult to distinguish, which only adds to its allure.

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