The Bridge of Sighs

Monuments - San Marco Area


The Bridge of Sighs received its name in the 17th century, because the prisoners who passed through it on their way to the prison cells on the other side would most likely see the beautiful sight of the lagoon and the island of S.Giorgio and freedom for the last time.

However, it was only in the 19th century that it came to be called the 'Bridge of Sighs' after Lord Byron's famous reference in his poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage "I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, a palace and prison on each hand".

In reality, the days of inquisitions and torture were over by the time the bridge was built and only small time crooks were kept in the prison cells. The prison building is older than the Doge's palace and was at one time used during the inquisition by the Church during the Middle Ages (when people were suspected of being witches or non believers and tortured).