Doge’s Palace is an ornate Gothic style palace and museum in Venice. A symbol of Venetian power and glory, it is a top attraction in the city – a must-visit. Doge’s Palace used to be the home of the Doge of Venice, who was the Venetian Republic’s supreme power. Doge’s Palace, also called Palazzo Ducale, was also the seat of the government. It has now been turned into a museum – one of the 11 museums that the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia operates. The museum opened in 1923.
Built-in the 12th century, this is one of Europe’s most recognizable buildings. It also hosts many exhibitions. See the prison, armory, and the duke’s rooms. See the building’s pink and white marbles of the façade. The ground floor gallery is supported by 36 columns that have exquisite 14th and 15th-century representations of Virtues, Vices, Months, Trades, and Animals.
You will see ornamentation everywhere. There are biblical and historic scenes in the lower colonnade. 2 of the columns are painted red. This is where the public executions used to be announced. There is the figure of justice above a column. In fact, you will see many other figures on the palace’s exterior.
Doge’s Palace – Quick Facts
|Doge’s Palace||Gothic style palace in Venice, home of Venetian Republic’s supreme power, administrative center|
|Now||Museum since 1923|
|Address||Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy|
|What To See||The façade, interior, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Palazzo Stampalia|
|Nearest Vaporetto Stop||San Marco-San Zaccaria, Giardini, Rialto Mercato|
Doge’s Palace or the Palazzo Ducale is a top attraction in Venice. 1,333,000 tourists visited the palace in 2016.
Construction of the Doge’s Palace
It was once a wooden gloomy fortress that had huge defensive towers. It was eventually converted into a Byzantine-style structure after it caught fire a few times. The palace you see now was built mainly in the 14th century. The façade overlooking the Piazzetta was built in the first half of the 15th century.
Porta della Carta is the main gate. It is in flamboyant Gothic style and has a lion of St. Mark. You will see Doge Foscari kneeling before it. There are figures representing Strength, Prudence, Temperance, and Charity. You can get more information about the construction of the Doge’s Palace here.
Bridge of Sighs
Also called the ‘Ponte dei Sospiri’, this is the most iconic of all bridges in Venice. Admire its delicate stonework and graceful curves. The arch bridge connects the palace with the 1st floor of the prison. The prisoners got their last view of the outside world through the windows of this bridge. Venetian judges used to be unmerciful in their sentences.
According to a legend, the Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri after prisoners as they took one last look at the outside world through the bridge’s windows, as like they made their way to the prison.
Porta della Carta
Meaning ‘Paper Gate’, this is the main entrance of the palace, and also the link between St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Created in the mid-1400s, many consider the design to be a perfect example of Gothic Venetian style. There are allegorical and ornamental figures carved all around it. Doge Foscari kneels before the lion on top.
This is strong symbolism, marking that the state is more powerful than an individual. The sculpture you see now is a copy of the original created in the 19th century. The original was destroyed when Venice was attacked in 1797 by Napoleon’s army.
This is a picture gallery containing a series of works by –
- Donato and Caterino Vaneziano (Coronation of The Virgin)
- The Florentine Lorenzo di Credi (Adoration of The Virgin)
- Giovanni Bellini (Presentation of the Jesus in the Temple)
- Palma il Vecchio (Sacred Conversation)
- V. Catena and Pietro Longhi (Scenes of Life in Venice in the 18C)