The Doge’s Palace
A peculiarity of the Doge’s Palace is a collection of layers of buildings and ornaments from which it is composed. It is assumed that the first construction dates back to the ninth century, at the behest of the Doge Angelo Partecipazio, but unfortunately any remnant of this ancient structure has not survived. The first evidence of the composition of the Palace come to us from the map of Venice by friar Paolino and they date back to the tenth / eleventh century when probably, the area that the building now occupies, was made up of a cluster of buildings of different shapes and functions, protected and surrounded by a wall, with massive towers at the corners and isolated by a canal. Remains of fortifications and corner towers still survive. Here stood the public offices, the courthouse and the jail, the residence of the Doge’s, stables, armories and more.
In the tenth century, the palace was partially destroyed by fire. The reconstruction, commissioned by Doge Sebastiano Ziani, radically changed the original setting of the Palazzo: two new structures were added (one towards the square, to accommodate the duties related to justice and towards the other towards the Basin, for the duties of government). In place of the ancient closed and fortified castle arose a building more open to the city, to adhere to the new demands of a political, economic and social expansion. In the thirteenth century, with the rise of the people entitled to participate in the legislative assembly (400 to 1200), it became necessary to further expand the Palazzo Ducale.
The renewal was radical: a new architectural language was adopted, Gothic. So, under the Doge Bartolomeo Gradenigo, in 1340, work began that led to the Doge’s Palace we know today. The initial work involved the area facing the dock, only in 1424, under the Doge Francesco Foscari, the renovation also extended into wing near the square. In 1483 a big fire broke out in the side overlooking the canal, which housed the Doge’s apartment. Thus further work was required and entrusted to Antonio Rizzo, who introduced to the new language of the Renaissance to Court. The work was completed only in 1559, and eventually, every administrative body had its own headquarters. The installation of two large statues of Sansovino, Mars and Neptune, on the Scala dei Giganti, which took place in 1567, marked the end of this important phase of work.
In 1577 another devastating fire engulfed the hall of the Scrutiny and the Great Council Hall, destroying the paintings which decorated them, works by artists such as Gentile da Fabriano, Bellini and Titian. The Doge’s Palace was home, as well as public office and to the apartments of the Doge, also the prisons, in the second half of the sixteenth century, Antonio da Ponte had built the New Prisons by Antonio Contin, connected to the palace by the Sospiri bridge, in the area of the former prisons began a series of minor renovations (a new porch was built and a new marble facade was erected). With the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 and the annexation of Venice to Italy (1866), the palace became home to several offices as well as house within it the Biblioteca Marciana.
At the end of 1800s the building was in a severely degraded situation , therefore underwent a major restoration during which they were removed and replaced many capitals of the fourteenth century portico, which today form the body of the “Museo dell’Opera”. All institutions were transferred to except the State Office for the protection of monuments, which still resides there. In December 1923 the State, owner of the building, entrusted to the City Council the management of the building which was opened to the public as a museum. Since 1996 “Palazzo Ducale” (Doge’s Palace) is in all respects part of the Civic Museums of Venice system.
|For more information on how to book entrance tickets to the Doge’s Palace and other museums in Venice please visit the Venice Museum web site or call us at (+39) 055-713655.|
|Availability Entrance Tickets, Guided Group Tours, Private Guided Tours.|
|You may also be interested in: Secret Itineraries Tour, Accademia Gallery of Venice, Correr Museum, Venice Museum Pass, Tickets for st Mark’s Basilica Venice|
Schedule. Open from 08:30 am to 07:00 pm from April 1st to October 31st.
|Address Piazza San Marco 1, Venice.|