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Palazzo Ducale in Venice: its history and information for the visit

The Doge's Palace in Venice , overlooking the splendid Piazza San Marco , is a living testimony to the centuries of history and power of the Republic of Venice. Built between the 10th and 11th centuries, the palace has undergone several transformations over the centuries, becoming a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture.

The Doge's Palace in Venice is a true treasure chest of extraordinary works of art, a collection that spans centuries of history and which reveals the artistic richness of the Republic of Venice . Between paintings and sculptures, the palace offers a fascinating journey into the heart of Venetian art.

A journey through time to discover the Doge's Palace in Venice

The initial nucleus of the Ducal Palace was a fortified structure with corner towers, dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. In the 12th century, Doge Sebastiano Ziani undertook the first renovation, transforming the fortress into an elegant palace. During the 13th and 14th centuries, under the doge of Bartolomeo Gradenigo , the palace took on its current form.

The Gothic architecture of the Doge's Palace was further enriched in 1424 with the extension next to St. Mark's Basilica. The Porta della Carta , added in 1442 by architects Giovanni Bon and Bartolomeo Bon della Porta, is a sublime example of Venetian Gothic art. The interiors house the Doge's apartments, renovated by the architect Antonio Rizzo after the fire of 1483.

During the 16th century, the Palace experienced tumultuous times, with devastating fires alternating with restorations and improvements. Giants' Staircase and Crucifixion are among the notable additions of this period.

In the 17th century, the New Prisons were added, connected to the palace by the famous Bridge of Sighs , evidence of an era when Venetian justice was severe. After the fall of the Republic of Venice in 1797, the palace was adapted for administrative purposes, also maintaining its prison function.

The Doge's Palace in Venice today

Today, the Doge's Palace is a museum of great historical importance, which attracts visitors from all over the world. In addition to offering access to works of art and historical environments, the palace is connected to other important Venetian museums, such as the Correr Museum , the Archaeological Museum and the Marciana Library , through the Venice Museum Pass .

The Doge's Palace is a testimony to Venetian power and culture. With itineraries such as “ Secret Itineraries of the Doge's Palace ” and “ The Hidden Treasures of the Doge ,” visitors can immerse themselves in the rich history of Venice.

One of the most iconic works inside the palace is Crucifixion , a masterpiece that replaces a mural damaged by the fire of 1483. This work, created in the 16th century, is the main treasure of the Doge's Palace and represents the Tintoretto's exceptional talent in capturing the drama and emotion of the scene. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is rendered in a powerful and engaging way, with a technical mastery that makes the work a cornerstone of Venetian art.

What to discover about the Doge's Palace in Venice

The Doge's Palace hides many curiosities. The "Lion's Mouth" , a sort of mailbox with the face of a lion, was used to denounce illegal practices. The visit to the palace culminates in the prisons, including the infamous Piombi, from which Casanova escaped in 1756.

The pink facade at sunset, the Senate Hall with works by Tintoretto and Palma il Giovane, the Collegio Hall with paintings by Paolo Veronese, are just some of the wonders that the palace offers to visitors.

The Giants' Staircase and the rooms of the Palace

The Giants' Staircase , majestic and imposing, is the main entrance to the palace. Used for the investiture of the Doge, it is surrounded by statues of Neptune and Mars, symbols of Venice's dominion over the sea and war.

The Senate Hall , also known as the Sala dei Pregadi, is another jewel of the palace. The room hosts works by renowned artists such as Tintoretto and Palma il Giovane. The figurative cycle of the room celebrates the doges and the deeds of the Republic of Venice. In particular, " The Triumph of Venice " by Domenico Tintoretto dominates the wooden ceiling of the room, surrounded by other works that narrate the glorious history of the Serenissima

The College Hall , the heart of the Pien Collegio, is decorated with works by Paolo Veronese, including the spectacular “ Neptune Offers Gifts to Venice ” by Giambattista Tiepolo. This room was the place where the Wise Men and the Signoria, key bodies of the Venetian government, met. The frescoes on the walls depict historical scenes and the virtues of good governance, offering a visual testimony of the central role that the College played in the institutional structure of Venice.

Finally, the Hall of the Four Doors , designed by Andrea Palladio, is one of the best-known rooms of the Palazzo Ducale. The four monumental doors are supported by Corinthian columns and sculptural decorations that evoke the tasks of the various Venetian institutions. This room, restored after the fire of 1574, offers a vision of the ceremonial and representative aspects of Venetian government.

Discover Venice and not only the Doge's Palace

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