About Doge’s Palace
It is an impressive structure and an epitome of Venetian Gothic architecture, reflecting the local variant architectural style. Dating back to the 14th century, the palace used to be the residence of the Doge of Venice and was extended and modified for further centuries.
The Palace consists of Doge's apartments, institutional offices, and judicial chambers with courts of law, administrative offices, prisons, and their layers of building elements and ornamentation. It was the heart of the political existence and local administration of the Venetian Republic. The Chamber of Great Council, in the Doge’s Palace, held all the political meetings of the most important republic body, the Great Council.
Also known as The Chamber of The Council of Ten, this chamber is one of the largest rooms in Europe, having a size of 53 meters by 25 meters. In the boundary of this grand complex, there are other exciting rooms like the Scrigno Room, where they kept a Silver book that used to contain the names of all noble caste families.
Discover the soul of Venice, behold stunning picturesque and experience the monumental history of Doge’s Palace.
How to Reach Doge’s Palace
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Venice Airport (VCE) is the nearest airport from Doge's Palace, having a distance of 8 Kilometres. There are three ways to travel from the airport to the Palace.
If you go by bus, it will take you around 25 to 30 minutes to reach. Every half an hour, a bus departs directly from the port and drops the passengers at Venezia.
Then a taxi is another option, and it is the fastest way to reach if you are in a hurry. Traveling through a taxi costs you $45 to $60, and it drops you off within 15 minutes.
If you want to discover the local beauty of this alluring city, then traveling through ferry is the preferable way. For those who enjoy the journey as much as the destination, the boat is the dream alternative.
Though it takes 1 hour and around 30 minutes to arrive at the goal in the meantime, it pleases exploration to tourists.
Best Time to Visit Doge’s Palace
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The best time to visit Doge's Palace is from April to May and September to November. In these months, the weather is comparatively pleasant, and you get 5-6 hours of daylight to enjoy the scenes of beautiful architecture. 8:30 am to 7:00 pm are the timings for visitors in April and May, and from September to November, it is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
It is also preferable to visit these months because prices at hotels are low and it saves you money on other adventures too.If you are planning your trip to Italy around Christmas, then you must visit Doge's Palace. From December 25 till January 1, there is an annual closing for visitors, which one must take into account.
What Not to Miss at Doge’s Palace
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Following are the list of famous attractions near Doge's Palace that must not miss in the journey of Venice tour:
Other Essential Information About Doge’s Palace
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Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
The entry to the palace is free for the visitors, holding the city pass. If the tourists don't have a pass, they can get an entry through the ticket which can cost more than 20 € for adults and 13 € for kids between the age of 6 to 14 years. However, children under the age of 6 years get a free entrance.
From 08:30 am till 8:00 pm, but entry is available to 7:00 pm.
Distance from nearest airport
Nearest Airport from the Palace is Venice Airport. The distance count between the two places is about 8 kilometers. Tourists can take a bus, taxi, or ferry directly from the port.
History of Doge’s Palace
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First constructed in the 9th century, Venice has seen so many expansions of Doge’s Palace. When it was the residence of Doge from 726 to 1797, fires occurred multiple times, destroying different parts of the building. Then Napoleon's occupation overthrew the rule of Doge from the Palace, and Venice was given under the subjective control of France and afterward Austria.
In 1866, it became part of Italy, while the Palace was occupied by administrative offices and cultural institutions until the late 19th century. When the magnificent building started to show signs of decay, the Italian government took the matter seriously. They shifted out the offices from the Palace and reserved funds for restoration.
After the necessary renovation, the Palace was turned into a museum in 1923 and gave charge to Venetian Municipality to run it. In 1996 the Palace became part of the Venetian Museum Network, which has been working under the management of Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia till now.
The Architecture of Doge's Palace
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The Exterior of the Doge’s Palace
Doge's palace, what we see today, was reconstructed in the 14th century. The most renowned Vietnamese architects and artists crafted different segments to design this grand palace. It is a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture.
The weight of the castle stands on a double-story of the slender and arched column. The top façade is weaved with pink Verona marble to give a lace-like appearance. This layer has arched windows. Also, the topmost crenelated roofline shows Islamic influence. Below is a list of some notable outer structures of the palace:
- Porta Della Carta: The entrance Doge's Palace, created by Giovanni and Bartolomeo, links the Palace to St. Mark's Basilica. Portada Carta translates to the paper gate. This name is thought to have originated from those people who waited at the gate.
They awaited to submit their petitions to the council. There is a sculpture of St. Mark's lion that reminded Venice of its political roots. With other sculptures and symbols, PortaDella Carta is among the best examples of Venetian gothic.
- The Bridge of Sighs: Towards the end of the façade, on the great canal side is Ponte Dei Sospiri.e., the bridge of sighs. This bridge connects the Doge’s Palace to the new prisons. Ponte Dei Sospiri has delicate stonework and is beautifully arched between the two buildings.
Prisoners walked this bridge before they appeared in front of the judges for a sentence. Through the stone grills of this bridge, the captives would take a last look at Venice and sigh with grief (hence the name of the bridge).
- The Central Courtyard: The main entrance of Doge's Palace leads into the central courtyard via the Foscari arch. Here you see a lot of columns, turrets, and even the statues of Adam and Eve, which reminds of the renaissance period. The central courtyard has a giant ceremonial staircase that joins the state apartments. On the top floor, Doges were crowned, and traitors beheaded. Two sculptures guard the stairs.
These are Statues of Neptune and Mars, which symbolized Venice's control of land and sea. Looking at Doge's Palace from the courtyard, we come to know that it has only three wings. The fourth wing was added via the junction of St. Mark's Basilica. The yard is mostly masterwork by Antonio Rizzo, who redesigned this after the fire of 1483.
The Interior of the Doge’s Palace
The interior of Doge's Palace is as mesmerizing as its enchanting exterior. With beautiful craftwork, decorated staircase and massive halls, this place is an academy of art in itself. Some of the significant delights inside the palace are:
- The Grand Council Chamber is a large hall which could hold meetings of upto 2000 magistrates. The hall is beautifully decorated with paintings, including the largest oil painting in the world. The ceiling is ornamented with sketches of 120 Doges except for the traitor doge 'Marino Faliero,' who is painted in black.
- Scala D Oro or the stairs of Gold, which connect the first floor to the upper floors. These are heavily decorated with 24-carat gold and were only used by council members and Doge's guests in the past.
- The Hall of the Council of Ten was a secret chamber of Venetian republic. Except for the ten council members, No one was allowed here, not even the accused. The trial took place by reading out statements of the accused and defense. Outside this chamber, in the hallway, is a sculpture of Lion’s mouth where denunciations were dropped to report to the council.
- Prisons are the only gloomy architecture of the Doge’s palace. In the mid 16th century it was decided to build a new structure on the other side of the canal opposite to the palace which would house prisons and the chambers of the magistrates known as the Notte al Criminal. Linked to the palace by the Bridge of Sighs, these prisons are dark and have a compact design.
Museo Dell' Opera
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The Doge's Palace had gone through multiple renovations and reconstructions in the past. Reason being fires, architect failures, organizational changes, structural modifications, or overhaulings of the ornaments. Every moment, the palace had been under work.
During the middle ages, the maintenance of Doge's palace was brought under the authority of a 'technical office.' In the mid 19th century, the castle deteriorated and a restoration plan came into action in 1876 to preserve this heritage site. Many sculptures from the Facade, which were in bad condition, were replaced by copies.
The original sculptures were preserved in an area inside the palace. This area was specially set aside for this purpose and called the 'Museo dell opera.' After the restoration plan was successful, Museo dell opera, consisting of 6 rooms, is exhibited to the public. It reminds of Venetian sculptures whose work were masterpieces. The stone works from the façade of the palace are also restored here.
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Doge’s apartments refer to the rooms where the Doge, the chief magistrate or sometimes translated as Duke, lived and spent time with his family. These rooms were always located in the wing of the Palace, between the Rio della Canonica – the present-day Golden Staircase or in the mezzanines above and below the main floor.
After the death of Doge, his property was removed from the apartments to make way for the new Doge and his furniture. These apartments show interesting artwork and décor and stand out with their splendid marble chimneys and engraved wooden ceilings, with lavish yet delicate carved decoration. These rooms were privately used by the magistrate which includes furniture brought from his own house.
Different rooms of this part of the palace are named after different Doges. SalaErizzo owes its name to Doge Francesco Rizzo. It presents a ceiling of the 16th century and a marble chimneypiece. The most elegant room is the SalaDegliScarletti. It consists of a carved ceiling, a fireplace by brothers Antonio and Tullio Lombardo, and a fresco by Titian.
The Corner’s Room owes its name to the paintings of Doge Giovanni Corner, which are placed here. The Equerries Room was the primary access to his private rooms. Equerries of the palace were appointed by himself to be at his service anytime.
Tips for visiting Doge’s Palace
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- You should visit one of the main historical sights of Venice during March (before cruise season starts) and in October (when cruise season wraps up). Take a break at one of the appetizing cafes on St. Mark's Square, or at the cafe inside the Museo Correr (opposite Piazza San Marco from the Basilica) and enjoy the milder temperatures and short ques.
- Doge’s palace is heavily occupied on weekends. It’s better to plan your trip on weekdays
- To skip the lines, arrive early in the morning or at noon when most of the tourists have their lunch. Or, it is recommended to book a “skip the line” tour as per you budget..
- Wear comfortable shoes in which you can easily walk long passages and climb complicated stairs.