Piombi: The Secret Prison of the Doge’s Palace

The Piombi was formerly a prison inside the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy.

The word “Piombi,” which literally translates to “lead” in Italian, refers to the prison’s lead-roofed cells.

The prison served as a site of intense agony and torture and a reminder of the Venetian Republic’s Dark past.

Let’s explore the Doge’s Palace prison in detail in this guide.

The History of the Piombi

Built-in the 16th century in the attic of the building, they were used to house prisoners convicted of minor crimes. 

The Piombi were not very nice because they were small and dark, and the prisoners didn’t get much sunlight.

The Piombi were abandoned in 1797, and they were replaced by a new prison on the island of Giudecca.

The old prisons inside the Doge’s Palace were also supplemented by the New Prison, built across the Rio de Palazzo from the palace.

The New Prison was connected to the old prisons in the Palace by the Bridge of Sighs.

The Conditions in the Piombi

The Piombi prison was a really bad place to be.

The cells were very small and dark, and the prisoners were often tortured.

Many of the inmates died while in prison, and their bodies were thrown into the canals of Venice.

The roof was made of lead, which made the cells even hotter in the summer and colder in the winter.

The air was also very stale because there was no ventilation.

The prisoners were not allowed to have any visitors, and they were often not given enough food or water.

The Famous Prisoners of the Piombi

The prison was known for its harsh conditions and the fact that it was often used as a tool of political repression.

It was also used to contain political dissidents, including those who were seen as a threat to the Republic

Some famous prisoners include Giacomo Casanova, the famous adventurer, and Giuseppe Foscari, the Doge of Venice in the 15th century.

Learn more about the Piombi with a tour

It’s great and all to read about the prison on your devices, but going there in person is a truly enchanting experience.

You can take a secret itinerary tour of the Piombi and learn about its history.

With this, you’ll also see the cells where the prisoners were kept and learn about the torture techniques used.

It’s a really interesting and spooky place to visit, and it’s a great way to learn about the history of Venice.

If you are eager, what torture method was employed to torture the prisoner? Follow this link to learn more about the Chamber of Torture in Doge’s Palace.

💡Let’s recap what we’ve read thus far with some Doge’s Palace Prison Facts 

The Piombi was named after the lead roof that covered the attic.

The cells in the Piombi were very small. They were only about 6 feet wide and 8 feet long.

Poor ventilation existed in the Piombi’s cells. As a result, they were very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. 

Some of the prisoners in the Piombi were tortured.

Casanova escaped from the Piombi by climbing down a rope that he made from bed sheets.

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Featured Image: Palazzoducale.visitmuve.it

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