Visit the Doge’s Palace in Venice | The Doge’s Palace in Venice together with the St. Mark’s Basilica, is the most famous attraction in the city. Among other attractions such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the palace is also one of the most visited attractions in Italy. The palace is located at St. Mark’s Square, one of the central points of the lagoon city.
The Doge’s Palace is situated directly by the sea and offers a sensational view over the Adriatic Sea in front of the city.
Historically, the building belongs to the Doge of Venice, a wealthy family that owned the political power in the city and in the Kingdom for a long time. The building can nowadays be permanently visited and offers a unique architecture as well as an inside view of the former city rulers’ life.
- 1 The architecture of the Doge’s Palace
- 2 Opening Times of the Doge’s Palace
- 3 Doge’s Palace – What can be seen there?
- 4 Doge’s Palace in Venice – Waiting Times
- 5 Doge’s Palace Admission Fees
- 6 History of the Doge’s Palace
- 7 Doge’s Palace guided tour in the Englisch Language
- 8 The Palace Interiors
- 9 Doge’s Palace general impression
- 10 Doge’s Palace – Practical information
- 11 Doge’s Palace – Museum Shop
- 12 Location & Directions to Doge’s Palace
- 13 What is worth seeing in the area?
The architecture of the Doge’s Palace
The building is characterized by different architectural styles. Due to the many reconstructions, many peculiarities from the different times were brought into the building.
Especially, the south wing of the Meno shows the typical construction style between 1340 and 1400, where this part of the building was achieved. The Steno window was completed in 1404.
The wing leading to the Piazzetta was built between 1424 and 1457. The Porta della Carta was built around 1440. The east wing was clearly built later and after the fires, it was reconstructed in the 17th century. At the same time, the prisons of the palace were built and equipped with a courtroom.
The foundations of the building consist of tree trunks and Istrian stone. The walls of the Doge’s Palace are brick-built and almost completely covered in marble. The south and west side of the palace have three stories, the east side, even four.
The Bridge of Sighs connects the palace with the prisons, the Porta della Carta leads directly to St. Mark’s Basilica. The 10 meters long bridge, built around the year 1600, is actually nothing special. However, it is on everyone’s lips since it was associated with the fate of many people. Once prisoners were brought to jail across the bridge after their trial and sentence in the Doge’s Palace. After a long prison sentence or even a death sentence, a “sigh” was then understandable.
The Bridge of Sighs along with Rialto Bridge is probably one of the most photographed bridges in the world. The best pictures of this mysterious and legendary bridge, surrounded by many stories, can be taken from the neighbouring bridge – the Ponte di Paglia.
Opening Times of the Doge’s Palace
Venice is one of the absolute tourist boom cities in the Mediterranean. Before planning your trip to the world-famous lagoon city, you should especially inform yourself about the opening hours of the most important sights in order to avoid the swarm of crowds of tourist crowds in the best possible way.
All important information regarding opening hours, admission and waiting times for museums at St. Mark’s Square, including the Doge’s Palace, can be found in my separate article Doge’s palace opening times.
Here is an overview of the most important opening hours:
|Apr to Oct||Sunday - Thursday||08:30 - 21:00||20:30|
|Friday - Saturday||08:30 - 23:00||22:30|
|Nov to Mar||Monday - Sunday||08:30 - 17:30||16:30|
On Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, the Doge’s Palace is closed and sightseeing is not possible only on these two days of the year.
Especially Venice Visitors, who also stay overnight in the city, have therefore sufficient possibilities to include a visit to this unique museum in their program.
Doge’s Palace – What can be seen there?
There are many offered visits to the palace, where various attractions can be admired. The tour leads through some smaller rooms and into the palace courtyard. Here you can view the different wings.
Then it follows the main building, where it goes up to the upper floors using some stairs. The living area of the Doge and his family can be visited here. The magnificent rooms are still well preserved. Above all, the large amount of gold with which the rooms and furniture are decorated is impressive.
The tour continues into the Great Council Hall. Here you can visit the largest free-standing hall in the world. The ‘Paradise’, the most famous painting of the palace, can be seen here. There are also many other works of art to discover in the palace halls.
After visiting the most important rooms of the main building, we leave the palace and walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs. The name of the bridge is self-explanatory since the building on the other side is the prison. The cells have not been rebuilt that’s why they show the conditions of the Doge’s time. The thick grids of the small, squat rooms with their iron doors give a little insight into how it must have felt as an inmate.
Visit tip: Another cell wing, which can only be viewed separately, are the infamous Piombi. Its most famous inmate was Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798), who vividly described the living conditions in his narrow and low cell in the story «Histoire de ma fuite des prisons». Casanova’s Prison Walking Tour
Doge’s Palace in Venice – Waiting Times
There are always extremely long waiting times at all of the most important tourist attractions of Venice. Especially at the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Campanile so bell tower of the St Mark’s Cathedral and many other museums.
Thousands of people visit the palace every day and the only way to get faster is to buy an online ticket in advance.
Doge’s Palace Admission Fees
All standard tickets for visitors to the Doge’s Palace also include free access to the Museo Correr, the National Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca Marciana, which are all located at St. Mark’s Square.
|Adults 15-64||28,00 €||Buy online ticket|
|Youth 6-14, Senior 65+|
Student (with ID) 16-25
|15,00 €||Buy online ticket|
|Kids 0-5 years||free||-|
Many tickets are offered with quite interesting tours or combined with other city attractions. For City Pass owners, the access to the Doge’s Palace is partially included in the discount card.
Everything regarding the admission fees to the Doge’s Palace tour is available in my article Doge’s Palace Admission Fees.
History of the Doge’s Palace
Angello Particiaco was probably the first Doge to call the palace his home. In 811, he relocated his residence from Malamocco, an area outside the city center, into the heart of the lagoon city. Together with the St. Mark’s Church directly opposite, St. Mark’s Square, which separates the two buildings, became the city’s most important meeting place.
There are no clear details of what the Doge’s Palace looked like at those times. However, when the buildings in Venice were built on each other over time, excavations exposed the former building walls. For example, a large moat that surrounded the entire palace.
In 976, the first palace was destroyed during a people’s uprising.
Sebastiano Ziani rebuilt the palace in the 12th century. He paid for the construction costs out of his own pocket. The building had a wing, as well as a courtyard. The Doge itself was located in the eastern wing, the south wing, on the other hand, housed the meeting room. Since the meetings of the council ruling the city at those times, got bigger, the hall had to be continuously extended. Finally, the council was relocated to a new building.
In 1340 Bartolomeo Gradenigo began to completely redesign the Doge’s Palace. The alterations should bring the palace to its present preserved form. The three wings of the palace were renovated and reconstructed so that the council could take place here again. Furthermore, other annexes were added to it.
Between 1483 and 1577 the palace was destroyed several times by fires. The reconstruction took place according to the plans of 1340. After Venice lost its independence, the Doge also lost their power. In the meantime, the palace was used for several ministers.
Doge’s Palace guided tour in the Englisch Language
If you want to know everything about the Doge’s Palace, its history and varied architecture in a short time, it is best to join an English-speaking guided tour.
Following booking options are available:
The Palace Interiors
All rooms of the palace are graceful and aristocratic, have high ceilings and are decorated with beautiful wall and ceiling motifs. The ceilings are extremely ostentatious, with special emphasis placed on the ornamental ceiling design. The pictures mostly show and praise the city.
The hall of the Grand Council is the largest in the palace. It is 54 meters long and has large windows, which allow you to appreciate the courtyard and the lagoon.
One of the shorter rear walls consists entirely of an oil painting, Jacopo Tintoretto’s: “The Paradise”. Even today it is the second-largest painting in the world.
In addition to the large council meetings, there were also much smaller, yet more powerful groups. These dealt with various topics covering special areas. The Doge’s council was, for instance, the most powerful group in the council. It consisted of the Doge’s nearest confidants who met in a special, as well as splendid small hall that can also be visited.
Doge’s Palace general impression
Doge’s Palace of Venice is one of the most impressive attractions in Italy. The more than 800 years old building has a long history that can be experienced and felt during a visit to the palace.
The living quarters of the doge are the highlight of the palace, as well as the large hall with its huge oil painting. The architecture and decoration of the palace are impressive.
Doge’s Palace – Practical information
The touristic museum infrastructure also corresponds to its importance. Information desk, cloakroom, and services such as for families a rest area with a breastfeeding corner and diaper changing table, can make your stay very pleasant. The security control complies with international standards.
A tour of the museum with an audio guide is possible. However, an appropriate device can only be acquired locally at the ticket counter for € 5.00 per 1 person.
For persons with reduced mobility, there are lifts and toilets for disabled people. The secret paths, prisons, and individual chambers are not accessible for wheelchair users.
If you want to eat in the Palazzo Ducale, as the real name of the Doge’s Palace in Italian is, you will find drinks, snacks and all types of meals in Café Ristòart.
Doge’s Palace – Museum Shop
Of course, the classic museum shop is present here too. In a new look and with spacious rooms, a huge selection of high-quality pictures, books, travel guides, and catalogues are available here. Needless to say in all different languages.
When it comes to the importance of the museum, you should definitely take a look at these printed works. Like in all museums, there is also a rich offer of jewellery reproductions, local handicrafts and many other souvenirs to remind you about your visit to the Doge’s Palace.
Location & Directions to Doge’s Palace
The Doge’s Palace is located directly at the St. Mark’s Square and next to the St. Mark’s Basilica, the most famous attraction of the lagoon city on the Adriatic. There is also a postal address: Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy.
If you are walking here, like everywhere else, you should observe the Italian “Palazzo Ducale” or the English name of “Doge’s Palace”. The already mentioned ‘Ponte della Paglia’ (Straw Bridge), is located directly by the sea next to the Doge’s Palace where one can take the best picture of the Bridge of Sighs
Everything in the tourist centre of Venice is within walking distance. The distance from the train station to St. Mark’s Square is about 30 minutes.
Otherwise, you can only reach the Piazza San Marco with the water bus called “Vaporetto”. Many lines start near the “San Marco”. The lines 1, 5.1, 14 and the nightline N are worth mentioning.
The most famous and most popular among tourists is undoubtedly the line 1, which slowly departs from the Grand Canal, allowing many palaces to be viewed from the water.
All other important information about this typical mean of transport in Venice can be found in the section Transport of this blog.
What is worth seeing in the area?
There is an enormous amount to see and to do in Venice. Many attractions can be quickly reached on foot. The visit of the Doge’s Palace should be dominated by the St. Mark’s Square together with the Basilica di San Marco and the Campanile di San Marco, so the freestanding church bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica.
Boulevard friends will find the Hotel Danieli next to the Palazzo Ducale. This is not the place where Georg Clooney and Bastian Schweinsteiger married their partners, however, it is still today one of the most traditional hotels in the city, where many famous contemporaries overnight. Aman Canal Grande Venice, Calle Tiepolo 1364, Venice.