Drawing of Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Topic: Route to Justice
Year: 2008
Source: The Prisons of the the Doge's Palace, Umberto Franzoi, 2005


The Doge’s Palace – in Venice – not only housed the Doge’s apartments, it was also the seat of government and the city’s courtrooms as well as jails. It was only in the second half of the sixteenth century that Antonio de Ponte ordered the construction of the New Prison – built by Antonio Contin around 1600 and linked to the palace by the Bridge of Sighs.

From Sala del Maggior Consiglio (court rooms) a series of passageways and stairways leads to the Bridge of Sighs, which links the palace to the new prison. The Bridge of Sighs has two different passages; one leads to the courtrooms and the other to the west facade, where they would have been executed in public. Depending on the prisoner’s sentence, they would be taken via one of these passages.

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