The breathtaking Doge's Palace in Venice was the home to the city's former rulers. It is a stunning architectural masterpiece and a must-see attraction for any visitor to Venice.
In fact, from its rich history and ornate design to its marvelous views of the city, the Doge's Palace is sure to leave a lasting impression.
In this article, we'll delve into the history of the palace, give you all the practical information you need to plan your visit, and provide some tips to make the most of your experience.
So come join us as we explore one of Venice's most iconic landmarks!
First thing first, why should you visit the Doge's Palace in Venice
Standing next to the Basilica, facing Piazza San Marco, there are surely many reasons why you should visit the Doge's Palace in Venice. Here are a few:
- Fascinating history: The Doge's Palace is a symbol of the wealth and power of the Republic of Venice, and its history is intertwined with the city's own history. A visit to the palace is a chance to learn about the city's past and to see how its rulers lived.
- Stunning architecture and monumental rooms: The Doge's Palace is an architectural masterpiece, with a stunning exterior adorned with intricate carvings, statues, and frescoes. The interior is just as lavish, with ornate marble floors, gold leaf decorations, and elaborate frescoes covering the walls and ceiling.
- Impressive art collection: The Doge's Palace is home to an impressive art collection, including works by artists such as Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto.
- Iconic landmarks: The Doge's Palace is home to several iconic landmarks, including the most famous bridge of the city.
- Cultural center: Today, the Doge's Palace is open to the public and serves as a museum and cultural center, welcoming visitors from all over the world.
In other words, a visit to the palace is a chance to immerse yourself in the culture of Venice and learn about its history and traditions.
The history of the Doge's Palace: how it all began
The Doge's Palace in Venice, also known as the Palazzo Ducale, was built in the 9th century and served as the residence and governmental headquarters for the Doge of Venice, the city's highest authority.
In 810, after Venice had become capital of the Serenissima, the seat of the doge was built there, probably in the form of a fortified and turreted palace.
The complex remained essentially unchanged in its appearance until the 12th century, when the Doge Sebastiano Ziani, decided to promote numerous renovations.
Having built the Prigioni Nuove (new Prisons, literally) and renovated the first floor between the 16th and 17th centuries, the palace was the victim of damage that led to the removal of numerous works of art.
Today, the Doge's Palace is open to the public and serves as a museum and cultural center, welcoming visitors from all over the world.
The exteriors of the palace: what you should look at
The exteriors of the Doge's Palace in Venice are as impressive as the interiors. The palace is a stunning architectural masterpiece, with a lavish façade adorned with intricate carvings, statues, and frescoes. The exterior is made of white Istrian stone, which gives the palace a bright and elegant appearance.
Another notable feature of the palace's exterior is the Porta della Carta, a large gateway located on the western side of the palace. The gateway is decorated with statues and carvings and is one of the main entrances to the palace.
Overall, the exteriors of the Doge's Palace are a sight to behold, and a visit to the palace is a chance to see one of Venice's most iconic landmarks up close.
What to visit inside the Doge's Palace
Inside the Doge's Palace, visitors can see a variety of rooms and attractions. Some of the highlights include:
- The Great Council Hall (Sala del Maggior Consiglio): This grand hall was the seat of the Republic's government and was used for important meetings and ceremonies. It is decorated with intricate frescoes and features a large, gold-leaf ceiling.
- The Doge's Apartments: Visitors can see the private quarters of the Doge, including his bedroom, study, and audience chamber. These rooms are decorated with luxurious furnishings and artworks.
- The Council Chambers: These chambers were used by the Doge and other government officials for meetings and decision-making. They are decorated with intricate frescoes and feature a large fireplace.
- The State Apartments: These lavish rooms were used by the Doge and other government officials for entertaining guests. They are decorated with gold leaf, marble, and frescoes and feature beautiful views of the city.
- The Armoury: This room contains a collection of armor and weapons that were used by the Republic's military. It is a fascinating look at the history of Venice's military and its defenses.
- The Art Collection: The Doge's Palace is home to an impressive art collection, including works by artists such as Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto. Visitors can see these works of art up close in the palace's galleries.
- The Bridge of Sighs: This iconic covered bridge connects the Doge's Palace to the city's prison. It got its name from the sighs of prisoners as they caught their last glimpse of freedom before being locked up.
How to visit the Doge's Palace: opening hours and tickets
The Doge's Palace is open to the public and can be visited year-round.
Here follows some information on how to visit the palace.
It is open from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM, with the last admission at 4:30 PM. The palace is closed on certain holidays, so it is a good idea to check the schedule in advance.
Doge's Palace tickets should be purchased at the palace's ticket office, or online through the official website. Prices for tickets are as follows:
- Full price ticket: €30 per person;
- Reduced price ticket (for EU citizens aged 18-25): €16 per person.
The ticket includes a visit to the Museums of St. Mark's Square, including of course the Doge's Palace.
Online you can purchase tickets to the Palace at your preferred time. Then you can choose, within 3 days of visiting the Palace, the day and time to visit the Correr Museum (which includes admission to the National Archaeological Museum and the monumental rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana).
Where is Palazzo Ducale located and how to get there
The palace stands in the heart of the most famous district of Venice: Sestiere San Marco. However, we have said previously that it faces St Mark's square. It actually faces Piazzetta San Marco, instead.
Anyhow, it's very easy to come here. Here are a few options for getting to the palace:
- By foot: The Doge's Palace is located within walking distance of many of Venice's main attractions, so it is easy to reach on foot. You can walk from the Rialto Bridge or from the train station, which are both located a short distance from the palace.
- By water taxi: one of the most enjoyable ways to get around the city is by water taxi. You can take a water taxi from the airport, the train station, or any other location in the city to the Doge's Palace.
- By vaporetto: The vaporetto is a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. You can take a vaporetto to the San Zaccaria stop, which is located a short walk from the Doge's Palace.
Some tips to visit the Doge's Palace in Venice
Here are a few tips for making the most of your visit to the Doge's Palace in Venice:
- Purchase tickets in advance: To avoid long lines, it is a good idea to purchase tickets in advance either at the palace's ticket office or online through the official website.
- Visit early or late: The Doge's Palace is a popular attraction, so it can get crowded during peak hours. To avoid crowds, try visiting the palace early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
- Wear comfortable shoes: The palace has many stairs and uneven surfaces, so it is a good idea to wear comfortable shoes.
- Take a guided tour: A guided tour is a great way to learn more about the history and significance of the palace. Guided tours are available in a variety of languages and can be purchased at the palace's ticket office or online.
- Take your time: The Doge's Palace is a large and ornate building, and there is a lot to see and appreciate. Take your time and savor the experience.
I hope these tips are helpful! Enjoy your visit to the Doge's Palace!