The Doge's Palace was the home of the ruling Doge as well as the main governmental palace at the time. If you take the tour of the inside, you'll start by seeing the beautiful courtyard with its ornate statues, stair case, clock tower and general architecture. Step inside and you'll get to see the grand ballroom, Senate chambers, family chambers, armory and inquisitors chamber. You'll also be able to follow the path that prisoners took on their way to their prison cells, including the last view from the Bridge of Sighs.
There are some beautiful pieces of art as well as lovely frescoes, especially in the Atrio Quadrato.
Very interesting and worth the admission price. Take the secret itineraries tour if you want to see some additional rooms not usually available to the general public.
Always closed on: New Year's Day (January 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1)
Christmas - Christian (December 25)
Cost: Adult 11.00 Euros
The large building with the pink and white marble facade is the Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale. Columns, spires, large windows and an ornamental balcony make this one of Venice's most visited buildings. And if you think the facade is eye-catching, take the tour on the inside and you'll be truly dazzled.
Part of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, the Palazzo Ducale is a museum open to visitors. A tour of the Palazzo is essential for understanding the history of Venice, its art, and how the Republic functioned. The interior of the palazzo is made up of a spacious courtyard, il Cortile, surrounded by various wings of the palace, which contained the Doge's residence, the seat of the government, its courtrooms, and the infamous prisons, all of which were expanded and renovated over the centuries in various architectural styles. The most important items to be admired are: 1- il Cortile, the courtyard, its Renaissance east façade, and its 17th century white marble north façade (see photo); 2- la Scala dei Giganti, the majestic 15th century staircase, designed by Antonio Rizzo and topped by two giant statues of Mars and Neptune by Jacopo Sansovino (see attached photo); 3- la Scala d'Oro, the "stairway of gold" and its incredibly ornate ceiling (see photo); 4- The chambers of the Palazzo, in particular, la Sala del Maggior Consiglio, which contains the world's largest painting, "Paradise" by Tintoretto. Note that photography within the palazzo is strictly forbidden, so I do not have any photos of the actual interior to share.
The Doges Angelo and Giustiniano Partecipazio originally established their power here in the 9th century. The present structure was built in the 14th century by Filippo Calandario, Pietro Baseio, and Master Enrico. A fire damaged it in 1577, and Antonio de Ponte, designed of the Rialto Bridge, restored it.
On the eastern side is the renowned Bridge of Sighs, which leads to the prison. Prisoners would be led over this bridge and allowed one last look at the city before being locked up. Tours take visitors through the palace and prison (sorry, no photos allowed inside). The stories are pretty grim.
Piazzetta di San Marco, but come on! you can't really miss it :)
It's rare that you find a building that was at the same time (rather than in different eras which is quite common) the official residence of the rules, the centre of government and the then 'civil service' and... prisons...
It was started as far back as in the 9th century, but reached it's present form over 500 years later. While the building is impressive wherever you view it from, the real interest is inside. So...
- Ponte dei Sospiri
- Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Hall of the Greater Council)
- Scala dei Giganti (Giants' Staircase)
- Porta della Carta (Paper Door)
- Scala d'Oro (Golden Staircase)
- Sala delle Quattro Porte (Hall of Four Door)
- College Antechamber
- Secret Chambers
The palazzo ducale, or doge's palace, was home for almost a thousand years not only to Venice's ruling doges, secret police, and principal law courts, but also to its municipal prisons, torture chambers and many of the city's myriad administrative institutions. One of the world's finest Gothic buildings, the exterior is a beautiful mingling of columns, quatrefoils, and intricately patterned marbles.
Its interior is a labyrinth of painting-lined rooms, as well as a series of dark and forboding dungeons that once confined the 18th century adventurer Casanova, among others.
The seat of the government and the Doge's residence during the history of the Republic of Venice, il Palazzo Ducale is a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture. The existing structure was begun in the 12th century, built as a replacement to a 9th century castle that was destroyed in a fire, but it took centuries of expansions and renovations to achieve this unique style that is definitively Venetian, yet somehow, with its geometric patterns, echoes Oriental/Islamic influences. The façade, made from pink marble and white Istrian stone, resting on the length of the gotico fiorito veranda and arcaded portico, seems almost upside down. Over the years, each of Venice's most talented artist and architects has worked on decorating or enlarging the palazzo, which was intended both to impress and intimidate visitors. Nowadays, the Doge's Palace is open as a museum, which not only boasts some of the world's most impressive ceiling and wall paintings, but also takes the visitor across the Bridge of Sighs and into the ruthless underworld of Venetian prisons.
For more photos of this architectural fantasy, check out the travelogue: "il Palazzo Ducale.
A monumental gateway, la Porta della Carta provided the main access into Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace). The gotico fiorito masterpiece, designed by Bartolomeo Bon and his son Giovanni, is wedged between the palace and the Basilica di San Marco. It was completed in 1442 and was once coloured and gilded. It contains superb Gothic details and fine sculptures of various symbols including the Lion of Saint Mark. The lion sculpture, however, is an exact 19th century replica of the original, which had been destroyed during the Napoleonic invasion. The gateway leads into the courtyard of Palazzo Ducale and up the famous stairway, la Scala dei Giganti.
Now a museum, Palazzo Ducale was the official residence of each Venetian ruler - called the doge - since the 9th century. The present palace, made of beautiful pink Veronese marble, was completed at around 14th-early 15th centuries following strict Gothic design principles.
Now a museum, it is open to tourists seven days a week (except on Christmas and New Year's day) but museum fatigue precluded me from venturing inside. Instead, I was happy to admire this Gothic masterpiece from outside, especially the intricate Porta della Carta (picture 2) and the historic Bridge of Sighs (picture3), which was being restored, thanks to the generosity of some Italian corporates.
During the visit to the Palazzo Ducal, you can cross the bridge of whispers and enter the new prison. You can wonder through the several cells ending up in the inner courtyard of the prison.
There are also some cells with replicas of the “furniture”, so that you can have a glimpse of how life was in the prison.
A visit to the Palazzo Ducal is a must in Venice. The great hall is amazing, as well as the private apartments of the Doge, and the court rooms. The inner courtyard, and the giants staircases are also beautiful.
When we got inside Palazzo Ducale I was surprised there wasn’t many people at the very early morning. Ok, the ticket is expensive -13 euros) but it incudes free entrance to other museums too like Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico, Biblioteca Marciana and one of the ca’rezzonico, palazzo mocenigo, casa goldoni, ca’pesaro or museo del vetro.
The Doge’s Palace is big, I mean very big if you think “ok, just go and check it for a while”. We walked more than an hour and although we were impressed of some nice huge halls, many arched columns etc we we got tired because it was connected with the prisons so it took a lot of time to do all. It was this place where Venice was ruled as the seat of the main government departments and it was really powerful for more than 1000 years (697-1797 till Napoleon ruled). The Scala dei Giganti (Staircase of the Giants, pic 1) is impressive with two enormous statues of Neptune and Mars made by Sansovino at its sides. Photography isn’t allowed inside but there are some nice blind spots just for your VT page :) You will see a lot of paintings from famous people like Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Bellini etc It is open daily except New Year’s Eve.
Although we felt kind of claustrophobic walking inside the prisons (pic 4) which are connected to the palace it was very interesting to check the small cells of the convicts and where they were taken. You will cross the bridge of Sights again, this time from inside looking outside! They supposed to sigh because this was the last time they could see the beautiful Venice but we sigh because we were tired walking inside here and we just wanted to get out!
I have to admit that we didn’t spend much time at Museo Correr because we preferred to enjoy the city more. The museum was founded by Abbot Teodoro Correr that gave his collection to the municipal in 1830. It houses many paintings, armour, coins, documents and maps about Venice history, culture and art. We liked the impressive marble staircase but we got shocked of the high prices of its café although you can have a nice view of San Marco square from the windows there. Museo Correr is open daily 9.00-19.00 (till 17.00 in winder). We also check the Museo Archeologico (pic 5, not impressive) and the Biblioteca.
The gateway between Doge's Palace and the Basilica di San Marco, Porta della Carta – Portal of Paper, referring to nearby state archives, the 15th century gate, forms the monumental main entrance to Palazzo Ducale – Doge's Palace courtyard. The portal was carved from 1438 to 1442 by Venetian sculptors and architects Giovanni Bon and his son Bartolomeo. It is remarkable for its rich sculptural decoration and surface ornamentation. Other artists who contributed to construction of the portal were Juraj Dalmatinac, Pietro Lamberti and Antonio Bregno.
The sculptural group above the architrave represents the Doge Francesco Foscari kneeling before the Lion of St Mark. It was carved by Luigi Ferrari in the 19th century to replace a lost original, of which only the severely damaged Head of Francesco Foscari is preserved and displayed in Museum of the Doge's Palace.
Also known as the Doge's palace what is most striking about this palace is how heavy the architecture is on the top ans the foundations made of thin pillars, we were really amazed about how it survived in the water for all these years.
Some interesting facts about this palace, this was burnt down and then reconstructed at around 1574, it is linked to the bridge of sighs, also the facade has some interesting work on it. Apart from being the ducal residence this palace also housed the political institutions of Venice till it was occupied by Napolean.
Palazzo Ducale di venezia(Doge’s palace) is located just next to the S.Marco basilica.(picture 2 :you see S.Marco Basilica in front,and the Doge’s Palace in the back).it was the palace of Venetian governers(Doges) from 9th -18th century.it has reconstructed in 16th century in Gothic architecture influenced by Islamic architecture and archs.(picture 3& 4)
Today.it’s a museam where you can visit Tintoretto’s paintings & …
Note: there is a long line in front of the ticket office during high season . Admission fee is 13 euro.