Doge’s Palace in Venice excursion
Imagine you are a wanderer, arriving by sea in Venice in times gone by. The first thing you see as you stand on the deck of the ship entering the lagoon is the stately yet playful Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale, floating above the water in lacey foam.
Despite its imposing size and history, lightness is the hallmark of this monumental building. The openwork elements of the Gothic loggias, reminiscent of lace woven from light stone, create an image of an elegant structure.
The Palazzo Ducale, along with St. Mark's Basilica and the square of the same name, is a symbol of Venice, its history inseparable from that of the city and its illustrious citizens.
The history of the palace goes back more than a century. The original appearance of the government building, which dates back to the 9th century, is unknown. From the few surviving fragments, researchers speculate how the building might have looked in the 10th-11th centuries: it was most likely a typical fortress with high walls and four corner towers surrounded by a moat. Numerous reconstructions caused by fires over the centuries altered the appearance of the building, which acquired its present form during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Over the centuries, the palace has fulfilled many functions at the same time: it was the residence of the Venetian Doge, the rulers of Venice who were elected to the office for life from among the noble families by a complex vote. This is also where the governing bodies of the city met: the Senate and the Great Council, where the Supreme Court convened, and where the work of the Secret Inquisition was done. The palazzo housed law offices, chancellery, various departments, as well as the prison.
On a tour of the Doge's Palace, you'll discover the history of the building that served as the centre of power of the Republic of Venice over the centuries. Learn how the city on the water became one of the most powerful maritime republics, and how and by whom the city-state was ruled. You'll also get to see the majestic halls, decorated with the paintings of prominent Venetian artists, where the most important decisions for the city were taken. Learn who the Doge of Venice were and who had the right to become one, and hear the fascinating stories about some of them.