Extraordinary example of Venetian civil-Gothic architecture, house of Doges and headquarters of the highest civil magistratures, it is the symbol of the city, the highest representation of the power and glory of the Serenissima Republic.
Inside the palace, it is possible to visit the halls of the Major Council, the Senate, the Electoral college, all decorated with paintings by Tintoretto, Tiziano and Veronese, and also the Doge’s rooms, the famous Council of Ten, the armory and the prisons.
The building, established as castle during the 9th century, acquired its present form only during the 14th and 15th century. Its structure consists of a series of constructive and decorative elements, fine decorations with symbols and allegorical motifs, capitals and sculptures.
Through the Porta della Carta, a Gothic door beside Saint Mark’s Basilica, you enter the beautiful courtyard, with in the center two bronze puteals, dated back 1500. Above the entrance side, the Foscari arch, a Gothic work of 1470; in front of it the Scala dei Giganti, a masterpiece of the Renaissance art by Antonio Rizzo (end of 15th century) with the statues of Mars and Neptune by Jacopo Sansovino (1554), in front of them the new elected Doge swore loyalty to Venetian laws.
From a southeast staircase you can go up to the Gothic loggia, which, through the magnificent Scala D’Oro (1559), leads you to the first piano nobile, whose halls, decorated with paintings by Giovanni Bellini, Tiziano, Carpaccio, belonged to the ducal chambers.
Up on the second piano nobile, a wooden ceiling (16th century), canvas by Jacopo Tintoretto; on the walls paintings by Veronese and Francesco Bassano.
The visit continues through the Sala delle Quattro Porte, where you can admire Il doge Grimani in ginocchio davanti alla Fede, famous work by Tiziano (1556).
Continuing with the Anticollegio, whose walls are decorated with four panels by Tintoretto and one canvas by Paolo Veronese, you can enter the Sala del Collegio: on the walls canvas by Tintoretto and Veronese, on the ceiling panels by Veronese (1577)
You will then enter the Council of Ten and the Council of Ten’s three governors, whose carved and golden ceilings still preserve panels by Paolo Veronese and his school.
Down the passage of the Major Council hall, you will enter the Quarantia Civil Vecchia and sala dell'Armamento (the “arming hall”), where you will find the remains of a magnificent fresco by Guariento (1365-67), ruined by a fire in 1577. In the following loggia, statues of Adam and Eve by Antonio Rizzo of 1464.
From here, you will get at the Major Council room: on the walls paintings and a decoration with 76 portraits of doges by Tintoretto (the one of Marin Faliero, beheaded on 1355 for conspiracy, has been replaced by a black background).
In the center of the ceilings, Apoteosi di Venezia, by Veronese.
Going down the loggia, you can partly see the Old Prisons, called “pozzi”, anguish, moist and dark cells. Crossing the Bridge of Sight, you can visit the unsetting New Prisons, of the second half of the 16th century, and the torture chambers.
Upon booking, it is possible to visit the Secret Itineraries of the Doge’s Palace, an itinerary through the less lavish rooms of the Palace, where bureaucracy worked and justice questioned and tortured the suspected.
Address: Palazzo Ducale San Marco 1, 30124 Venezia
Entrance: Porta del Frumento, Piazzetta San Marco
Opening times: from April 1st to October 31st 8.30 am – 7 pm (last admission 6 pm)
from November 1st to March 31st 8.30 am – 5.30 pm (last admission 4.30 pm)
Closed on December 25th and January 1st
A single ticket valid for the Doge’s Palace and the combined itinerary of Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.
Ticket full price: € 20,00
Ticket reduced price: € 13,00 Children aged from 6 to 14; students aged from 15 to 25; coordinators (max. 2) for groups of children or students (min. 10); citizens over 65; staff of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali e per il Turismo (MiBACT); holders of the Venice Rolling Card; FAI members
Free entrance: Venetian citizens and residents; ICOM members; children aged from 0 to 5; disabled people with helper; enabled tourist guides and interpreters accompanying groups or individual visitors; for groups of at least 15 people, 1 free entrance (only with prior booking); accompanying teachers of school groups (up to 2 teachers per group); MUVE ordinary partners; Servizio Civile volunteers; MUVE Friend Card holders, holders of “The Cultivist” card (plus three guests).