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St Mark's Square, Venice
The Doge's Palace in Venice – including the Bridge of Sighs prison in Venice is part of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice – and one of the essential sights to see in Venice.
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On this page you can find useful information to organize your visit to the Doge’s Palace in Venice: opening hours and prices, as well as a brief description of what you can admire. Also you can conveniently buy your Venice Doge Palace tickets online as part of the cumulative ticket for The Museums of St. Mark's Square - which also includes a visit to the Correr Museum, Venice National Archaeological Museum and the Monumental Rooms of the National Library of St Mark’s, or purchase the Museum Pass.
Venice Doge's Palace – Description
Located in the monumental area of St Mark’s Square, the majestic Doge's Palace in Venice has been the heart of Venice throughout its fascinating life. The history of the Doge’s Palace in Venice probably begins in the IX century - with the transfer of the Doge’s headquarters in Venice - but it is only since the XIV century that the radical transformation began which lead to its current elegant appearance. Over the centuries, the ancient foundations have been enriched with an extraordinary array of constructive and ornamental elements that have given rise to the unmistakable structure of the Ducal Palace in Venice that we all can admire today.
Once the centre of the political and administrative life of the Venice Republic from its birth to the inexorable decline, the Palace of the Doge, Venice keeps alive the immense power and splendour of the Serenissima.
Refined rooms, majestic staircases, monumental entrances, the Bridge of Sighs prison in Venice... the Doge’s Palace Venice history is a unique treasure, the result of a clever fusion of styles and architectural elements from different periods in perfect harmony which will leave you breathless. The Venice Doge’s Palace paintingsboast the signature of the greatest artists of all time, such as Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian, Tiepolo and many others.
The entrance of the Doge’s Palace is the Gate of the Wheat - located in the oldest part of the building - that leads into the inner Doge’s Palace courtyard, Venice which is connected to the Doge apartments, Venice on the first floor via the Doge’s Palace Giant Staircase – an ancient monumental entrance - decorated with two statues of Mars and Neptune, by Sansovino that symbolizes the power and dominion of Venice over the sea and the mainland.
On top of the Doge’s Palace Giant Staircase a series of lodges open up offering visitors beautiful views of the courtyard or part of the enchanting St Mark’s Square.
On the floor of the lodges one can also admire the Hall of the Casket, the Hall of the Militia from the Sea and part of the Institutional Hall of the Doge's Palace in Venice, sumptuous and refined interiors which served as background to the political and administrative life of the Republic, developed throughout the Palace of the Doges in Venice. From the floor of the lodges, the splendid Doge’s Palace Golden Staircase leads to the upper floors via two ramps that open out on to vestibules with large windows.
On the noble floor there is the Doge’s apartment and other rooms dedicated to the administration of justice connected by a veranda - Liagò – which was intended for nobles during the breaks in the sessions of the Great Council.
The most important room of the Doge’s Palace is the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in Venice. Its considerable size makes it one of the largest in Europe, the venue for meetings of the highest judiciary of the Republic of Venice. Some of the most important Doge’s Palace, Venice pictures are kept in this room, among which is the largest canvas in the world, produced by Tintoretto on the back wall. The second flight of the Golden Staircase leads to the second floor where the visit to the Palace of the Doge’s in Venice ends with the remaining part of the Institutional Rooms.
The visit to the Ducal Palace offers art, history and relics from ancient Venice and also includes:
- The Opera Museum - once the office that was in charge of maintenance and operations in the Doge's Palace - which houses documents and artefacts of its activity, in addition to the capitals that originally adorned the facade of the Doge’s Palace;
- The Armory, which houses weapons and ammunition from various sources.
It is also important to mention the famous Bridge of Sighs, Venice built in the seventeenth century to join the Doge's Palace to the New Prisons. The Bridge of Sighs is covered and inside divided into two corridors connected to the staircase that led from the Wells up to the Leads. The name Bridge of Sighs, draws its origins from the last sigh 'of freedom' that the prisoner breathed before reaching the New Prisons in Venice.
Doge's Palace Venice - Opening times
- From 1 April to 31 October
8.30am – 7pm (entry until 6pm)
- From 1 November to 31 March
8.30am – 5.30pm (entry until 4.30pm)
- Closed on 25 December and 1 January
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