Doge’s Palace – Venice Tours
A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Palazzo Ducale is a great layering structure of constructive and ornamental elements: from fourteenth century’s ancient foundations to sizeable Renaissance. It consists of three main bodies that incorporate previous constructions: the wing to the St. Mark’s Basin, the oldest, which contains the Hall of Great Council, the wing towards the Square, formerly Justice Palace, the Hall of Poll, and the Renaissance wing with the residence of the doge and many government offices.
The courtyard leads to the four wings. The first plan, called the Loggia, allowing a walk along the three wings east, south and west of the palace, with beautiful views over the courtyard and the Piazzetta San Marco.
This floor houses the Office for the Environmental and Architectural Heritage of Venice and some offices of the Directorate of Museums in Venice. Through the golden staircase you reach the Renaissance wing. The political and administrative life of the Republic was held in the apartments of the doge, the institutional rooms. The whole decorative program of the halls always has as a subject the celebration of the virtues of the State. In the second half of the sixteenth century, a new building was built, destined for prison functions. The construction of this new prison, thanks to the much larger cells, was done with the purpose of improving the living conditions of the prisoners. Continuing on the two floors below you can visit the courtyard of the prisons, with a path that shows the collection of ceramics that come from the archaeological excavations carried out in the area.
The route is connected to the famous bridge of Sighs, built to unite the Doge’s Palace with the new prison building. The bridge is closed and covered, and consists of two corridors that are separated by a wall, one to connect the prisons to the Halls of the Magistrate and the Supreme Court of the Quarantia. The other to unite the prisons with the halls of Avogaria and the parlour, both connected to the staircase that rises from the wells until you reach the Hall of the Leads. The famous nickname “of the Sighs” is of romantic age, and refers to the sigh that the prisoner would emit leaving the court of the Palace crossing the bridge before reaching their cells, within which they had to serve their sentence, and from the bridge they could glimpse, through small windows, the lost freedom.
The last part of the visit is dedicated to the Halls of the Armoury, now home to a valuable museum with weapons and ammunition.
The tour includes:
- Private tour guide
- Ticket with reservation to avoid the line at Palazzo dei Dogi
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