The Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy


This photochrome print of the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) in Venice is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Made of white limestone and containing two stone-barred windows, the 11-meter-wide bridge was built in 1595–1600 by Antonio Contino (1566–1600). Greatly admired for its decorative Italian Renaissance architecture, the bridge connects the interrogation rooms and prison in the Palazzo Ducale with a newer prison, the Palazzo delle Prigioni, located across the Rio di Palazzo. The bridge’s name was coined in the 17th century, when it was said that convicts on their way to prison would sigh longingly as they took in the view of Venice for the last time. The name was popularized in the 19th century by the English poet Lord Byron, whose "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" includes the lines: “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; A palace and a prison on each hand."

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Detroit Publishing Company, Detroit, Michigan


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color


  • The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr., and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.
  • Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J--foreign section, Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905.
  • Print no. "1108".

Last updated: August 13, 2014