CategoryFine Arts, History
Good To KnowOpen also Mondays
TipSpectacular views of the Grand Canal and St Mark's Square
The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Venice is a unique example of Venetian Gothic architecture and one of the city’s main landmarks. Sitting at the political heart of Venice for most of the Republic’s existence, the building played a vital role in the daily life of its residents. More than simply being the doge’s residence, it was home to all Venice’s governing councils, many of its courts, a large number of its civil servants, and even its prisons.
For more than a 1,000 years the Doge was the ruler and chief magistrate of the Republic of Venice. To maintain political stability, they were elected for life by the city-state’s aristocracy.
The Doge’s Palace is an impressive structure made up of layers of elements and ornamentation. Established in the 9th century, the building was rebuilt many times thereafter, and it was with the construction of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (the Hall of the Great Council) in 1340 that the present building really took shape.
The palace has magnificent Gothic façades in white limestone and pink Veronese marble and its carefully crafted loggias and striking balconies all define late-Gothic Venetian architecture. There are 36 capitals on the lower colonnade that are festooned with carvings. The animals and flowers represent some of the finest stone work in Europe. Amongst the many sculptures are those depicting Adam and Eve, Noah, the Archangel Gabriel and many other religious figures. Inside, visitors are able to view works by Tintoretto,Titian and Veronese among others.