Doge's Palace, Venice

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    Sala dello Scudo - The maps.

    by breughel Written Apr 17, 2007

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    The globes
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    The name of this room "Sala dello Scudo" finds its origin in the fact that the coat of arms of the governing doge was exposed here. The presently exposed coat of arms is the one of Ludovico Manin, last doge of the Republic before the fall in 1797.
    This large room is actually better known by a great decoration with maps and, in the centre of the room, two remarkable revolving globes with the celestial sphere on one and the terrestrial sphere on the other.
    The original maps on the walls by Giovan Baptist Ramusio (author of the map with Italy and the Mediterranean,1483), from the Greek Giovanni Domenico Zorzi (anterior Asia) and from the cartographer Giacomo Gastaldi (Turkey and Egypt, Marco Polo's Asia) were renewed by the cartographer Francesco Grisellini (1672) who added other paintings with the description of the trips of the most famous Venetian explorers: Nicolò and Anthony Zen who went to Greenland.
    I was perplexed when I read on the map of North-America that the natives were anthropophagi's!

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    Sala del Maggior Consiglio.

    by breughel Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Sala del Maggior Consiglio - View from balcony.

    The High Council hall is the largest room of the palace (53 x 25 m). It assembles paintings on the ceiling and walls of the most famous Venetian artists of the 16th c. mainly Veronese and Tintoretto.
    The "Paradise" by Tintoretto is said to be the largest painting (22 x 7 m) in the world.
    Even if the quality of a painting is not proportional to its surface, all this is excellent work.

    Nevertheless the first thing visitors do, when entering the huge High Council room, is to go to the balcony and have a look outside on the Canal of San Marco and the Islands of San Giorgio and the Guidecca on the other side. As there is only room for six persons at the balcony, visitors are sometimes queuing to have a view which they will keep in their souvenirs of Venice.
    They may forget the paintings of Veronese and Tintoretto but not that unique view from the balcony on the Laguna.

    You will see on the bottom of my photo that a floating barrier has been installed to protect the quay and the moored gondola from the waves of the motorboats. You will also see that the vaporetto make a wide bend to stay at distance from this quay-molo in front of the Palazzo Ducale.

    See also my video.

    Open: 8.30 - 19 h from 1/04 to 31/10
    8.30 -17.30 h from 1/11 to 31/03.
    Last entrance one hour before closing time. Closed 25/12 and 1/01.
    Price (2014): 16 € , reduced: 10 € .

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    Cortile - courtyard.

    by breughel Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Cortile Renaissance fa��ade (east wing)
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    Among the many palace courtyards I have seen the "Cortile" courtyard of the Doge's Palace remains for me the most dazzling among them.
    The two inner southern (molo side) and western wing (piazzetta side) facades are in brick and show the typical appearance of the Venetian Gothic.
    At the top of the facades stand out against the sky and the campanile elegant embellishments of white marble that suggest a border of lace (photo 3 ).

    Most amazing is certainly the eastern wing with the much more ornate Renaissance façade. The decor of this wing culminates towards the far end in the Giant’s Staircase (photo 1 & 2).
    The courtyard is completely enclosed by porticoes, surmounted by loggia's.
    The northern façade with the triumphal arch dedicated to the Doge Foscari closes the courtyard.
    The "Cortile" courtyard of the Doge's Palace is for me one of the most outstanding architectural marvels of Venice.
    Very good views on the courtyard are those taken from the windows of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio - High Council Hall.

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    Doge's palace - Exterior facades.

    by breughel Updated Oct 20, 2013

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    Doge's Palace.
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    The Doge's Palace is the most outstanding civilian monument of Venice but it is also a monument of which the architecture is extraordinary in Europe by its originality.
    Indeed when we approach by the lagoon, the best way for a first contact, we are struck by what the architects call an "inversion of masses".

    The bottom of the southern facade of the 15th century, overlooking St. Mark’s Basin, with the open arches of the portico, the fine columns of the loggia in late Gothic style with delicate carvings, is lighter than the upper part formed by a wall of white and pink marble panels with the balcony and only six windows (photo 1). The architects of this marvel were the brothers Dalle Masegne.

    This inversion of the masses surprises the amateur of the Gothic style as used in the civil architecture of the countries of the North of Europe. See for example the city halls of Brussels, Leuven or Oudenaarde in Belgium. Here according to a classic Gothic tradition of construction the buildings are lighter at the upper part.

    The magnificent western facade which looks onto the Piazzetta is in the same late or flowery Gothic style and is based on the same architectural principle: more openings in the lower part than in the upper part of the facade.
    Notice on the left side the two fine red marble columns of the loggia: it is there that were proclaimed the judgments of persons condemned to death (photo 2).

    Open: 8.30 - 19 h from 1/04 to 31/10
    8.30 -17.30 h from 1/11 to 31/03.
    Last entrance one hour before closing time. Closed 25/12 and 1/01.
    Price: 16 € , reduced: 8 € .

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    Palazzo Ducale (The Ducal Palace)

    by Fam.Rauca Written Oct 23, 2005

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    Palazzo Ducale (The Ducal Palace)
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    The Palazzo Ducale is placed at the southern side of the piazza San Marco.
    The imposing complex with yards and hallways, advice halls and secret rooms served as doge's residence and control centre of the Venetian power.
    The rich provision of the building with paintings, naked marble grounds and gilt wood panels, pulls, still today, each visitor, invariably, in its railway.
    From the water and from the country accessible, frankly and inviting, it appears directly at the Molo, standing Palazzo Ducale.
    Its arcades open with the Porta del Frumeto.
    The first construction of the Dogenpalastes, at this place, began in the 9th century.
    The Doge Agnello Partecipazio let erected the first fortified residential castle in the year 812.
    In the year 976, the people put the Palace and the unmitigated quarter, in the Fleming.
    The first palace of stone arose from 1175.
    Unknown master builders created a glamorous palace between 1340 and 1550 on huge rust from tree trunks and stone at the water, a luxury place to stay for Doges, a state palace for the aristocracy.

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    A visit to the Palazzo Ducale

    by Jefie Updated Aug 26, 2010

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    Palazzo Ducale di Venezia
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    The Doge's Palace, or Palazzo Ducale, is one of Venice's most easily recognizable buildings. This Gothic-style palazzo dates back to the 14th century, and until Napoleon conquered the city in 1797, it served as the official residence of the doges who ruled over the Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. The city's courtroom, government offices as well as a prison could also be found at the palace, which became a museum in 1923. A visit to the Palazzo Ducale includes a self-guided tour of the doge's private appartments, the government chambers, the spooky prison (reached by walking across the famous "Bridge of Sighs") and the Museo dell'Opera, where you'll find the palace's original statues and columns, among other things. I thought there was a really nice mix of art, architecture and history, and there's enough to keep you busy for well over an hour!

    Tickets to the Palazzo Ducale cost 13 Euros and they give access to all the museums located on Piazza San Marco. There's also a museum pass available for 18 Euros that includes a few more art museums in the city - that's the one we got, and I thought it was worth it. I'd recommend buying it at one of the less popular museums (we got ours at Ca' Pesaro), that way when you show up at the Palazzo Ducale you can skip the huge line of people waiting to buy tickets! There's also a guided tour available for 18 Euros called "Secret Itineraries" that takes you into rooms that are off limits to other visitors, but to go on that tour you need to book several days, sometimes weeks in advance. I didn't get to do it so I can't comment on it but it's supposed to be very interesting... maybe next time!

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    Palazzo Ducale ~ The Doge's Palace

    by starship Updated Apr 11, 2012

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    Unique Design of the Doge
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    Venice has many notable and famous attractions, and one of the most photographed is the beautiful Palazzo Ducale, perhaps more well known as "The Doge's Palace." Its pink & cream exterior diamond pattern with columns, graceful arches and delicate tracery are a commanding presence on the Piazetta San Marco, perhaps only overshadowed by its next door neighbor, the Basilica San Marco.

    The Doge's Palace played a prominent role in the history of Venice, and was the seat of government and home of its elected leader, the Doge, for over 1,000 yrs. The Palace housed rooms of grand scale, design and purpose. It functioned as the center of law, civil/municipal administration, and even a prison. There is a famous and fascinating account of the escape of Casanova from one such cell.

    On the day we visited, we entered the Palace on the Riva side, and there was no waiting! After paying the rather high price of Euro 14 each (2011 price), we visited the first room which contained beautiful brick-exposed walls with many remnants of various types of column and tracery. The many rooms, gallerias, courtyards, prison cells all told the tale of past doges and the men who were responsible for the Venetian government and much of its history.

    While we spent an hour or more here, I could easily have spent at least an additional hour or more, and if fortunate enough to follow a tour group and guide, a visit here would be even better.

    There is a very decent gift shop available at the end of your visit, and if you could not absorb all the history in one visit, there are some excellent books available for later study.

    From 1st November to 31th March
    9am - 6pm (ticket-office 9am - 5pm)

    From 1st April to 31st October
    9am - 7pm (ticket-office 9am - 6pm)

    Closed on 25th December and 1st January

    To purchase tickets in advance, visit: tickitaly.com

    NOTE: The Secret Itinerary Tour is not included in the standard price of admission.

    More to follow.

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    Doge's Palace - Visit the Correr Museum First

    by jlee008 Updated Nov 16, 2004

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    Shadow Cast on Stairway Doge's Palace

    Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale first housed Doge Sebastiano Ziani. The original castle was destroyed in 976 during an uprising against Doge Pietro IV Candiano. The pink and white marble exterior appears rather flat, but once inside you can admire the detailed sculptures and layout of the palace. At the top of a giant staircase, there stands Sansovino's two statues of Mars and Neptune. They symbolize the power of Venice.

    You might wonder why you should visit the Correr Museum first before coming to this grand palazzo. The reason you should visit the Correr (on the opposite side of Piazza San Marco from San Marco) is because the ticket that you buy there will get you into the Correr and Doge's Palace. It is helpful because the lines at Doge's are significantly longer than the ones at Correr, especially during high tourist volume times of the year. Once you have the ticket, you can go into the side entrance of Doge's Palace without having to wait with the hordes of people.

    If you get there before opening time and before the queues become intolerably long, you will also make out quite well.

    HOURS:
    March - September 8:30am to 6:00pm daily.
    October - February 8:30am to 4:00pm daily.

    ADMISSION: 9.50€ (Combination ticket for Correr Museum and Doge's Palace)

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    You will visit it, but will you see everything?

    by Librex Updated Dec 4, 2004

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    Palazzo Ducale

    It's a no brainer that a trip to Venice would not be complete without a visit of the Palazzo Ducale, the Doges Palace. But some options are available to you to better appreciate this huge historical building :

    - Audioguide : they are very good, based on PDAs, with a touchscreen and a map of the palace so you dont get lost. However, the battery lasts for only 2 hours and the staff is clear on the fact that they will not replace the unit in case of a dead battery (probably to avoid people sharing an audioguide). Mine died about 15 minutes before the end of the tour and I missed the last couple of rooms. Dont waste too much time, keep moving...

    - 'Secret rooms' : I missed this one and I'm quite disappointed. It's a guided tour following a special itinerary in the Palace. In short, you'll see things few people will see. You have to book this tour one day in advance so I suggest you do that if you are interested. Dont expect the staff at the entrance to be really helpful though, they told me to buy my ticket first and then to book the tour. Guess what? It does not work this way.. All travelguides will mention this tour so I guess it was worth it...

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    Porta della Carta | Portal of Paper (I&V)

    by Zvrlj Updated Feb 6, 2009

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    Porta della Carta
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    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.

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    Doges Palace, Pallazo Ducale

    by rubbersoul75 Updated Sep 5, 2006

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    pallazale Ducale
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    From here, the vast Venetian republic was ruled. The grandeur of the building seems to express the former power and prosperity the Republic. The pink and white marble that make up the exterior, and the gothic/renaissance/Venetian architecture give the Palace a demanding presence over the piazza and water. Clearly impressive to those travelers, tradesmen, or diplomats seeing this as one of their first shots of the city when arriving by boat.

    This is where the Doge, ruler of Venice, lived. Much more than that, the Doges Palace is where the republics laws and decisions where made, where “the great Council” met, where prisoners were judged, and much more.

    A tour of the palace will get you inside which is a museum in itself, an exercise in excessive ornamentation, with numerous works of art by Venice’s top artists. The “Secret itinerary” tour takes you through hidden passageways and into the Doges secret apartments and torture chamber. (the tours are about 14 euro)

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    PALAZZO DUCALE - INTERIOR DECORATION.

    by breughel Updated Mar 9, 2014

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    Veronese in Sala del Collegio
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    On every visit of the doge's palace I was surprised by the contrast between the brightness, the clear colours and the elegance of the outside facades and the rather dark decoration from the inside of the Doges Palace.
    The sculptured and gilded wooden ceilings, the paintings of the masters Tintoret, Veronese, Bassano, Palma the Young and others do not really cheer up the somewhat ponderous decoration, essentially of the end of the 16th century.
    I believe that this serious, sometimes dark decoration resulted from the function of this palace. It is not here the palace of a sovereign but a building dedicated to the meetings of the various councils and assemblies of the oligarchy governing the republic of Venice. The Doge, elected leader of this oligarchy, occupies, as a tenant, the rather modest private apartments. What a contrast with Versailles under Louis XIV!
    The Palazzo Ducale is essentially a building in with each organ of public administration and government is housed within its own specific premises.
    The functions of government, justice and administration explain probably that serious and dark decoration. No place here for fantasy.
    What a tremendous contrast between the interior of the Palazzo and the cheerfulness of Venice and the festive mood of the Venetians especially in the period of Carnival which in the 18th century would last several months.

    Open: 8.30 - 19 h from 1/04 to 31/10
    8.30 -17.30 h from 1/11 to 31/03.
    Last entrance one hour before closing time. Closed 25/12 and 1/01.
    Price (2014): 16 € , reduced: 10 € .

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    Chamber of the Great Council

    by Cristian_Uluru Updated May 22, 2006

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    Chamber of the Great Council
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    The Camera del Gran Consiglio is the wonder of Palazzo Ducale. It is 53 metres long and 25 wide and this is the largest and most majestic chamber in the Palace. In this room there were the meetings of the Maggior Consiglio, the most important political body in the Republic. The Council had the right to call to account all the other authorities and bodies of the State when it seemed that their powers were getting excessive and needed to be trimmed.The 1,200 to 2,000 noblemen who sat in the Council always considered themselves as the guardians of the laws which were the basis of all the other authorities within the State.
    The room was restored in the 14th century and it was decorated by Veronese, Tintoretto and Palma il Giovane. The walls were decorated with episodes from Venetian history, with particular reference to the city's relations with the Papacy and the Holy roman Empire. On the walls, behind the Doge's throne, is occupied by the longest canvas painting in the world: The Paradiso made by Tintoretto.

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    The Secret Itinerary -

    by kph100 Updated Mar 23, 2006

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    Prison cell door

    The Secret Itinerary at the Doges palace was for me the highlight of the visit to the Palace.

    This is the tour that takes you into the parts of the palace that normal visitors fo not see.
    It is conducted with a tour guide, ours was a very knowledgeable young lady.

    You basically access all the secret parts where the records where kept and the parts of the palace where secret prisoners were kept. This included Casanova and the guide tells an interesting story as to how Casanova escaped.

    Sadly no photos were allowed to be taken in this part of the palace.

    Once you finish this tour you are then free to see the rest of the Palace as all other visitors do, and at no extra cost.
    So at 15 Euros including on line booking fee this is great value.

    I would suggest that you book on line prior to your visit especially if its main tourist time.
    Only do this durin Itlaian working hours for the payment part of the booking to work properly which means you get your confirmation email.

    The tours take a maximum 25 persons and are as below -

    Italian 9.30; 11.10
    English: 9.55 10.45; 11.35
    French 10.20; 12.00; 12.25

    The website I used is below.

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    Palazzo Ducale

    by Cristian_Uluru Updated May 22, 2006

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    Palazzo Ducale
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    The Palazzo Ducale is one the most important building of Venice. It was built in a gothic style from 1309 to 1424 on the 9th century origins by Filippo Calendario.
    The palace was the residence of the Doge and contained the offices of a number of political institutions. In the first floor you can see lawyers offices; the Chancellery; the Censors and the Naval Offices. On the second floor there were the Grand Council chamber, the Ballot chamber and the Doge's apartments. In the third floor you can see the nice Sala del Collegio where foreign ambassadors were received.
    The most spectacular room in the palace is the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Grand Council chamber), originally the meeting place for the legislature with walls full of wonderful paintings.
    Another great room is the Sala dello Scrutinio, with some more Doges, and other interesting paintings, including Andrea Vicentino's Lepanto.

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