Doge’s Palace, Venice: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips
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Sightseeing Tours

Doge’s Palace Tours & Activities

About Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace is one of the most ancient constructions we find in Venice, Italy. Located in the centre of the city, in Piazza San Marco, it is a remarkable masterpiece of engineering and architecture. This beautiful palace makes us think about how the man could create such mesmerizing structures without having any technology in that era.

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.

By Bus:
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.

By Taxi:
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. 

By Water:
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:

1. Canal Grande is a beautiful canal that flows throughout Venice. It takes you across this beautiful city with its colossal Renaissance palaces. Tourists can enjoy an exciting Gondola ride or water bus, which takes them across Canal Grande.

2. Piazza San Marco which was called by Napoleon ‘the drawing room of Venice'. This place is mesmerizing, and the tourists struck in awe at their first sight of San Marco.

3. St. Mark's Basilica is a mix of eastern and western architectural styles. In 832 AD, This magnificent cathedral became the holiest in Venice, when the remains of St Mark were preserved here.

4. Ponte Di Rialto is popularly known as the 'True Heart of Venice'. It is a massive bridge built on 12,000 wooden pilings that have held the bridge for the past 400 years.

5. The Gritti Epicurean School is a Venetian cooking institute. Here you get to learn exceptional Venetian recipes, discover Venetian Lagoon’s seasonal products, and get to taste the food by executive chef Daniele Turco.

Other Essential Information About Doge’s Palace


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Location

Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy

Entry Fees
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.

Opening hours
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.

Doge's Apartments 


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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.

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Doge’s palace is heavily occupied on weekends. It’s better to plan your trip on weekdays

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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..

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Wear comfortable shoes in which you can easily walk long passages and climb complicated stairs.
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People Also Ask About Doge’s Palace

  1. Is Doge's Palace worth visiting?

    Doge's Palace is definitely worth visiting. It’s renascent architecture and elegant interior allures thousands of visitors in a day. The vast chambers, decorated ceilings, and traditionally crafted walls tell tales of the ancient era. Visiting this phenomenal historical monument takes you back in time. Apart from enjoyment, you gain knowledge about the renaissance designs from this place. Plan a rejuvenating holiday with your family to the heart of Venice and have a spellbinding time of your life.
  2. What was the Doge's Palace used for?

    Doge's Palace was the official residence of Doge of Venetian Republic. It was the center of all political activities of former Venice and also the Council General. After the abolishment of Doge and the occupation of Napoleon in 1797, when Venice was taken under the subjective rule of France and Austria, it became the hub of administrative offices. It also acquired Biblioteca Marciana ( National Library of St. Mark) and other cultural institutions. Then in 1966, all offices were cleared, and the government turned the Palace into a Museum.
  3. Is Doge's Palace free?

    Yes, the entry is free for the tourists having a Venice City Pass. With a museum pass you can enter Doge's Palace for free. If not, then you have to buy the entrance tickets. It costs 19-20 € for adults and 12-13 € for kids aged 6-14. No entrance fee for children below 6 years.
  4. How long is Doge's Palace?

    The tour to Doge’s palace takes around 70 to 90 minutes. It takes an hour and a half to see the main halls and areas open to the public. If your secret tour is booked in late hours, then you must arrive at the Palace 2 hours before your trip starts. So you won't miss anything.
  5. Can you take photos in Doge's Palace?

    It depends on where you are taking photos. In some publicly open areas, you can capture pictures, but usually, it is a forbidden rule. While you are entering a particular place, you can find signs of "no use of camera" there. So you better need to be careful. If you are still confused, the principal to capture photos is, take pictures where everyone is using a camera.
  6. What is the Doge's Palace made of?

    Doge’s Palace is quintessential to the Renaissance style of construction. The rooms and chambers of the palace manifests delicate work of some of the most important bodies in the Venetian administration. This unique building represents Venetian architecture and is constructed with Pink Verona Marble and White Istrian Stones. The structure is made up of three large blocks, incorporating previous constructions.

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