When Venice was the height of her influence, she was a maritime super power and the Doges Palace was her beating heart. It is where the history of Venice was made. Here are just some of the reasons to visit Doges Palace Venice:
Venice once dominated all trade in the Mediterranean. She was a maritime super power. Her headquarters were inside the Doges Palace Venice or Palazzo Ducale, on Piazza San Marco / Saint Mark’s Square. Every decision that influenced Venice and sometimes the lands and territories of neighbouring nations was decided here in the Doges Palace. It is beautiful to see the Doges Palace, and I think this fact makes it even more atmospheric and fascinating.
At the height of its power, Venice was the most prosperous city in Europe, dominating the entire Mediterranean area. Her money came from trade and her dominance of the sea.
Her dominance and her wealth can be seen in the architecture of the Doges Palace. It was rebuilt in the finest gothic architecture, with very ornate detail. The stunning architecture, which you can still see today, was a statement to the world of Venice’s strength, power and position.
When you visit the Doges Palace, you’ll also get a chance to see the staterooms, the impressive golden staircase, paintings and sculptures by the greatest artists of the Renaissance. Just like the architecture, this was designed to demonstrate Venice’s standing in the world. You’ll also see how far the wealth and influence of Venice reached if you visit the shield room, since it contains maps charting the flow and ebb of the Republic of Venice.
The chamber of the Great Council is a huge and impressive room. This is where around 2,000 men met to decide on the affairs of the Republic. The walls are decorated with paintings of the previous Doges – including scrolls that list their achievements. It’s here you’ll also be able to see what is potentially the largest oil painting in the world – Tintoretto’s Paradise. There is so much to marvel at.
The Doges Palace was also were the Doge lived – the senior elected official in Venice. Surprisingly, the apartments of the Doge are more humble than you would expect. He was a public servant you see, therefore his apartments needed to demonstrate that he was a central part of the Republic, but not more important than it.
When you visit the Doges Palace you might also catch a glimpse of the chamber of the council of ten, the torture rooms used to get confessions from prisoners, the prison cells where prisoners were held as well as the bridge of sighs – the aptly named bridge that connected the palace to the new prison cells. It is very atmospheric and one can almost imagine what being on the wrong side of the Venetian Republic must have been like.
So, if you plan to visit Venice and wish to visit the Doges Palace whilst you are here, then I do think it is best to visit with a guide because this way you’ll be able to book ahead and ‘skip the line’ with your tickets. Also, as I mentioned above, there is so much to see and marvel at. If you work with a guide, you’ll be sure to see the most interesting parts of the palace, hear all the intriguing stories and secrets that you might otherwise miss.
At Venice Incoming, we’ve been touring the Doges Palace for years, and we’ve got a fantastic selection of tours of Venice to choose from. There’s our original Doges Palace tour, or there’s the option to team a tour of the Doges Palace with a tour of the neighbouring St Mark’s Basilica with our Inside Venice option. Alternatively, you can explore the Doges Palace and enjoy a walking tour of the centre of Venice with our Ducal Venice Walking Tour.
Our previous guest, Mirco D'Incà toured the Doges Palace with us one evening last summer and left a lovely 5 star review on our Facebook Page, which said: “I attended the evening visit to the Palazzo Ducale. Excellent!! Pretty much was just us on the inside, and we can see things that with the rush of the day, I'm sure we couldn't see. Great experience with the guide who accompanied us, and very good experience with Venice Incoming (Park View Viaggi).” Thanks Mirco!
Thanks you and hope to see you soon!