Venice / Attractions / Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace Venice (Palazzo Ducale)

Palazzo Ducale, the Doge's Palace in Venice with the Bridge of Sighs

Doge's Palace Venice

All info about visiting the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, also called Palazzo Ducale in Italian. A palace at St Mark's Square in Venice Italy.

Doge's Palace Tickets & Info

Location Piazza San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia (next to St. Mark's Basilica)
Hours Open daily from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm (no entry after 5:00 pm)
Tickets

Your ticket for the Doge's Palace also includes entry to three other museums on St. Mark's Square: Museo Correr, the Archaeological Museum and Biblioteca Marciana.

Tip 1: When you buy your tickets online, you can enter in the fast-track queue. This can save you a lot of time, especially in high season.

  • Adults, from 27.50 € (book tickets online)
  • 6 to 29 years and 65+ 15 €
  • Guided tours, from 59 € (book tours online)
  • Tip 2: With this great value Venice Pass you have the most important tickets for your Venice city trip together, such as tickets for the Doge's Palace and a gondola ride.

Visit the imposing Doge's Palace in Venice

The Doge's Palace – also called Palazzo Ducale in Italian – is located on the Piazza San Marco in Venice. This palace used to be the home of the head of state of the republic Venice, called the 'Doge'. In addition to the head of state himself, this palace also contained a number of rooms that housed the offices of political authorities. However, these political authorities no longer play a role, which has created space for a completely different kind of layout of the Doge's Palace.

Doge's Palace VeniceThe Doge's Palace at Saint Mark's Square
Palazzo DucaleImpression of the beautiful spaces in the palace

Design and decoration of Palazzo Ducale

The palace building is of Gothic design and was constructed between 1309 and 1424. It is interesting to note that this was not the first building on this site, as remains of a 9th century structure have been found. These remains are of Byzantine origin.

Unfortunately, a fire broke out in the palace at the end of the 15th century. In the years that followed, the palace was regularly renovated and expanded. There was another fire in the mid-16th century, but this time the main structure has been preserved and only part of the second floor had to be refurbished. The bad luck did not end when at the end of the 16th century not only several works by famous Italians, but also the interior of two rooms went up in flames.

Palace VeniceCourtyard of the Doge's Palace
Palazzo DucaleImpressive interior of Palazzo Ducale

When the Doge's Palace needed major maintenance at the end of the 19th century, various restoration works took place. Since 1923, the palace's destination has changed and now it operates as a museum. When you enter through the main entrance - the Porta del Frumento - you can visit various parts of the museum. On the place where the kitchen used to be on the ground floor, you will now find visitor facilities, temporary exhibitions and the Museo dell'Opera. If you continue to the first and second floor, you will find the doge's apartment, but also the atrium with all the rooms where officials were seated. There was even a passage to the prison:

Bridge of Sighs: connection between the palace and the prisons

After several extensions, the Ponte dei Sospiri – or the Bridge of Sighs - was built in the 17th century. The purpose of this bridge was to connect the existing palace with the new prison to be built on the other side of the canal. The bridge's name refers to the sigh that convicts, who were on their way from the courtroom of Palazzo Ducale in which they had just received their sentences to prison, sighed as they watched their freedom literally disappear under their feet from the bridge for the last time. This last bit of freedom through the small windows gave a view of the lagoon. It wasn't a long bridge, but you can imagine that every step that was taken on this bridge would indeed have caused a heavy sigh.

Bridge of SighsThe famous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri)
Doge's palace Venice ItalyThe prison on the other side

Art and other places of interest

In addition to the highly impressive art, your eye will also be cathched by the architectural structure of the Palazzo Ducale. You may even be able to discover the different construction years based on the materials and decorations used. The magnificently decorated ceilings, the richly decorated fireplaces and doors, the imposing halls and (meeting) rooms; they all make Palazzo Ducale an absolute must see during your trip to Venice.

Surroundings of the palace

The Doge's Palace is located in the San Marco district and this is the real center of Venice Italy. It is on the corner of where the Rio de Palazzo meets the Canal Grande. Besides the Bridge of Sighs, the Ponte della Paglia is also nearby. Other places of interest to visit in the vicinity of the palace are the Archaeological Museum, the Royal Gardens and - not to miss - the Saint Mark's Square and the Saint Mark's Basilica.

Would you like to explore the canals after you've visited the palace? Then you can cross the Ponte della Paglia to the Castello district and find several piers there, but you can also stay in the San Marco district or use various types of water transport opposite of the Giardini Reali di Venezia. Boats will leave for all kind of islands of Venice, but you can also take a gondola for a touristic trip on the Venetian canals.

Doges palace
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