The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most infamous landmarks in Venice. It links the opulent grandeur of the Doge’s Palace to the arched, minimalist cells of the New Prisons. In fact, the bridge gets its name from the sighs of desperation exhaled by those crossing it into captivity.
The Doge’s Palace (left) and the New Prisons (right)
The Bridge of Sighs
View from the Bridge of Sighs
The Palace end of the Bridge of Sighs
The twin arches where the Bridge of Sighs enters the New Prisons
Despite their name, construction on the New Prisons actually began way back in 1580. One of the original designers was actually a prisoner with a life sentence, Zaccaria Briani, who received three years remission in return for his help!
The prisons are for the most part three storeys high, and arranged around a central courtyard.
Many of the cells still retain their original wood cladding, meant to help keep out the damp.
In several places you can see abundant graffiti carved into the wood or stone of the cells by their inmates. Or drawn on the arched ceilings using the black smoke from candles.
After the magnificence of the Doge’s Palace, the tour through the New Prisons is a slightly harrowing experience. But fascinating nonetheless.
This post was inspired by the themes Minimalist from Jen (of The Daily Post) and Arches from Ailsa (of Where’s My Backpack?).
You encounter some dodgy people in prison
While you’re imagining the awful fate of those incarcerated in the New Prisons, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?
Me (right) and Ernest doing some research for Jaspa’s Journey 5: The Ses Collector
And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!