Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), Venice

Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), Venice (must see)

Built on the foundations of a 9th-century fortress, this palace is unquestionably the finest secular building of its era in Europe, having served as the residence of the doge, as well as the home of all of Venice’s governing councils and law courts. Additionally, it housed a sizeable number of the Venetian Republic's civil servants and even prisons.

The palace dates to the 14th century, though a 16th-century fire destroyed much of the original building, reducing many of its masterpieces to ash. Some of the greatest Venetian masters of the time contributed to the restored palace, replacing the works of the old masters with gilded stuccowork, sculptures, frescoes, and canvases – among these, Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian, Bellini, and Tiepolo.

The architecture is a combination of Byzantine and Gothic, whereas the courtyards and much of the interior are based on Classical forms – a blending of influences that led art critic John Ruskin to declare it “the central building of the world”.

The regular tour of the palace is interesting enough, showcasing lavish rooms of a splendid scale. The furnishings and paintings are spectacular and visitors gets to explore the various administrative salons and marvel at the ceilings. The most outstanding feature is found in the Grand Council chamber – namely, Tintoretto’s “Paradise”, said to be the world’s largest oil painting. The second grandiose hall, which you access from the grand chamber, is the Sala dello Scrutinio or “Voting Hall”, with paintings telling of Venice’s past glories.

Towards the end of your visit to the Palazzo Ducale, you cross the Bridge of Sighs by which prisoners were led to their cells on the other side of the canal. In complete contrast from the splendor of the palace, the cell-blocks confront visitors with the grim remnants of the horror of medieval justice. The “sighs” in the bridge’s name stem from the sad laments of the numerous victims forced across it to face certain torture and possible death at the hand of state inquisitors appointed by the city.

If you don't want to miss out on the importance of much of what you’re seeing, seek out the infrared audio guide at the entrance that gives the fascinating history of the 1,000-year-old maritime republic, and the intrigue of the government that ruled it.

Tip:
Book in advance for the guided "Secret Itinerary" tour that takes you into otherwise restricted quarters and hidden passageways, such as the Doge’s private chambers and the torture chambers where prisoners were interrogated.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:30am–7pm, last admission 6pm (Apr-Oct); 8:30am–5:30pm, last admission 4:30pm (Nov-Mar)
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Venice, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) on Map

Sight Name: Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace)
Sight Location: Venice, Italy
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: City Orientation Walking Tour   Piazza San Marco Walking Tour   Titian's Tour   Best Sights of San Marco Walking Tour  

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

Largely regarded as one of the most romantic places ever built by man, the city of Venice is spread across 118 islands collectively earning it the nicknames of the City of Water and the City of Bridges. Other than the bridges, though, the city abounds in museums, basilicas and other historic sights. For a chance to visit some of these and learn more about Venice, embark on this self-guided walk!

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Religious Edifices Walking Tour

Religious Edifices Walking Tour

As a tourist, you definitely are aware that a country like Italy, especially a city like Venice, has a lot of sacred sites. It would be a pity not to take a look at some of the wonderful buildings built by humans in the name of the Lord. Glorious artists, architects and their disciples have given their lives and talent for our pleasure for centuries.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice. This is a place that enriched the cultural, social and economic life of Venice in the course of its history. The square is the host of the famous Venice landmarks as the Doge's Palace, Basilica San Marco and the Procuratie. Piazza San Marco is always full of people and pigeons.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 km
Romantic Walking Tour

Romantic Walking Tour

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is the perfect destination for honeymoons, proposals and romantic trips. It is impossible to name the most romantic places in Venice because all the streets, canals and corners of this city are filled with romance, passion and love. This tour will guide you through the places where you can enjoy the perfect moment with your beloved.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Ghetto Tour

Ghetto Tour

The term "ghetto" is derived from a local Venetian dialect and relates to foundries and the metal casting industry. The Ghetto of Venice was indeed built around a smelter. Here, in 1516, at the behest of the Republic of Venice, Jews were literally locked inside the gates in the evening. Nowadays this is a center of Jewish life in Venice. The area comprises several synagogues, divided by...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 km
Casanova's Tour

Casanova's Tour

Giacomo Casanova is one of the most famous personalities of Venice. He was a man of great culture. His interests ranged from love affairs and gambling to writing and alchemy. Born in a family of theater actors in 1725, he grew up surrounded by high society. He became an important personality in his own right, starting with his adolescence. This tour will show you places of great significance in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km

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