The Doge's Palace in Venice
Overview Doge's Palace
The Doge was the head of state in the Republic of Venice. The Doge's Palace was for many centuries the residence of this leader of the republic. The government and city council also met in the huge building. For the first time, a palce for a doge was built at this location in the 9th century. The present bulding dates from the 14th century. Later the palace was destroyed by a big fire, but it was rebuilt according to the Gothic original.
The Doge's Palace is terrific from outside. A visit to the interior of the palace is more than recommended. In addition to the beautiful architecture of one of the most important buildings in Europe, you can see many important paintings. Also known is the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palace with the prison next door. Among others, Casanova was imprisoned in this prison of the Palazzo Ducale.
Location and How to get there Doge's Palace
The Palazzo Ducale is located directly on St. Mark's Square in the south of the old town of Venice. It is a tourist area. Thousands of people visit the palace and other big attractions in the immediate vicinity every day.
You can reach the Doge's Palace in about 45 minutes on foot from the train and bus station of Venice. The only other option is to get there by boat, by public transport waterbus (Vaporetto). Many lines have a stop nearby (San Marco).
Entrance fee Doge's Palace
Venice is not exactly cheap, that is also true for many ticket prices. The name of the ticket you need for the Doge`s Palace has the name (translated) "St. Mark's Museum Ticket" and costs 19 euros (in early 2018). This ticket includes not only the palace of the doges, but also some museums nearby. Among them are the huge Correr Museum and the National Library Marciana, one of the most important collections of ancient manuscripts worldwide. You do not have to visit the other museums on the same day, the ticket is valid for several months. An entrance ticket for only the Doge's Palace does not exist to our knowledge. There is only the combined ticket with the other museums for 19 euros. With this ticket, however, you often have to stand in line for a long time. This can be avoided with a slightly more expensive online ticket with the addition "without queuing" (a skip-the-line-ticket costs online about 23 euros).
You can rent at the entrance, which ist on the sea side of the Doge's Palace, an audio guide. The device costs 5 euros extra..
Even more interesting is a "secret tour" through the former government palace of Venice. This tour leads through areas in the palace, which are not accessible for normal visitors. Again: Better buy an online ticket without queuing (with preferred admission) to avoid very long waiting times.
Tour Doge's Palace
After the entrance you will pass through some rooms and quickly reach the courtyard of the Palace of the Doge in Venice. Here are toilets for the visitors and the cloakroom. All bags and backpacks, which are larger than about a handbag, have to stay in the cloakroom. You get your bag back at the end of your palace-tour.
The route leads up several flights of stairs. Now your are in the interior of the Doge's Palace - the Doge's work area and living quarters, as well as the government's meeting rooms and much more. Impressive are the stucco, much gold and the beautiful, gigantic paintings.
The highlight for almost all visitors is the more than 50 meters long "Sala del Maggior Consiglio" room. At its great time it was with over 1,300 square meters probably the largest hall in the world without supporting pillars. In this room was the election of the doges. For centuries, about 1,000 noble inhabitants of Venice were eligible to vote. In this hall of the Great Council is one of the largest pictures in the world (size incredible 205 mē). The painting is called "Paradise" and is by Jacopo Tintoretto. It is one of the most famous paintings in Venice. In other rooms of the Doge's Palace you find more magnificent works of art.
The famous Bridge of Sighs and the prison: The way through the Doge's Palace continues over the famous Bridge of Sighs into the New Prison, which is a old, former prison. You pass many rooms with impressive thick bars and heavy iron doors. Back over the small Bridge of Sighs you reach the exit. Here is a small cafe and restaurant. The prices are quite high, even for a public museum. There are menus such as spaghetti, mineral water and a small fruit salad for 15.40 (in 2017). Our cappuccino costed 4, a coke (0.5 liter in a plastic bottle) 4.40. Before you exit the Doge's Palace, you will still be guided through a bookstore, as it is common practice in many large museums in this world nowadays. Here you can also buy souvenirs and other things.
Winter visits: There is no heating or air conditioning in the Doge's Palace. During our visit in January, it was very cold in the building. As far as we know, heating is only available in the book shop and in the cafeteria of the Palazzo Ducale.
Opening Times Doge's Palace
In summer, the Doge's Palace is open from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm every day. In winter, the opening hours are only slightly shorter (8:30 am to 5:30 pm). You should plan at least 2-3 hours for the visit. Since many people want to go to the Doge's Palace, you should not come at peak times if possible.
Only on a few public holidays, such as the New Year or Christmas Day, the Palazzo Ducale is closed. Otherwise you can visit the most important sight of Venice every day of the year.
Short film Doge's Palace from the outside
Duration of the short film is just about 30 seconds.
The palace in foreign languages
The name of the Palace in Italian, as already mentioned several times, is "Palazzo Ducale", French "Palais des Doges".
The famous Bridge of Sighs is in Italian the "Ponte dei Sospiri".