Ponte de le Tette is a small
bridge in Venice, Italy.
takes its name ("Bridge of the Tits") from the surrounding area,
which was home to numerous prostitutes . Courtesans were encouraged
to stand topless
on this bridge to entice
and convert suspected homosexuals
'cure' funded by Venetian officials.
The reason why this bridge was given such a notorious name is quite
simple: the Carampane di Rialto was one of the red light districts
of Venice since the fifteenth century, by official decree. Sex
workers there would open their legs wide or display their breasts
from nearby balconies to attract business. The Serenissima
supported this heterosexual sex in order to help stem the tide of a
growing wave of homosexuality, which had grown into a social
problem. By 1509, one writer estimated that there were some 11, 565
courtesans working in Venice. (Sanudo). Nearby was the Traghetto
Del Buso, where courtesans crossed the Grand Canal to another legal
red light district, again per orders of the Serenissima. Taxes on
prostitution in 1519 helped finance excavation at the
- More information on courtesans:
Encyclopedia of Prostitution.
The Souls of Venice by Janet Sethre.