Bridge of Sighs
Excerpt from A Child’s Geography: Explore the Classical World
Around this same time, people from Venice began traveling all over the known world to trade. One particularly famous Venetian explorer was Marco Polo. You have probably heard of him. Marco, together with his father and uncle, both wealthy merchants by trade, traveled on foot to far-away China. There he became an advisor to the powerful Mongol lord, Kublai Khan. Marco Polo did not return to Venice for 24 years. That is a very long time to be away from home, don’t you think? Unfortunately, when Marco finally did return home, Venice was at war with Genoa, another Italian port city. Marco was taken captive by a Genoese admiral and thrown into prison. While in chains, he dictated the story of his travels to a fellow prisoner, which was published under the title The Travels of Marco Polo. His time in prison did not go to waste.
Speaking of prison, we are passing by the Bridge of Sighs. Do you wonder why the Venetians called it that? Long ago, captives of Venice were led across this bridge to the dungeon, which invoked heavy sighs from the prisoners as they took in their final view of the outside world. Let me show you: