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The Ultimate Guide to Doge’s Palace in Venice 

Situated in the floating city of Venice, Italy, Doge’s Palace is a stunning attraction with 1.5 million annual visitors.

“Palazzo Ducale” is the Italian name for “Doge’s Palace.”

Earlier, the Doge’s Palace served as the residence of the Doge, the supreme leader of the former Republic of Venice.

Today, it is a remarkable historical landmark and museum, offering visitors a glimpse into Venice’s history, art, and politics.

This guide covers everything from its architecture, history, interiors, opening hours, the best time to visit, and tickets.

Where is Doge’s Palace Located? 

The Doge’s Palace is a historic and iconic building in the heart of Venice, Italy.

It is located along the Grand Canal and near St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), a popular and easily recognizable landmark.

About Doge’s Palace 


Function
: Historical museum and landmark
Address: P.za. San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Opening Hours: 9 am to 7 pm
Best time to visit:  from April to May and September to November
Closest Airport: Marco Polo Airport (VCE), in Tessera
Ticket Price: €33
Year of opening: 1424
UNESCO World Heritage Site: since 1987
Annual number of visitors: Over 1.5 million

What to see at the Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace has a grand exterior with a decorated Gothic style and a luxurious interior with grand staircases, golden ceilings, and painted walls. 

It also had prisons connected to the palace by the famous Bridge of Sighs.

Visitors can easily spend hours admiring all the paintings, statues, and architecture of the Doge’s Palace.

Porta della Carta (Paper Gate)

The “Paper Gate” is an entrance between the Doge’s Palace and the Basilica of San Marco, built in 1438 by architect Bartolomeo Buon.

The gate is decorated with spires, carved trefoils, and statues, including one of a winged lion, the symbol of Venice.

There are two theories about why the gate is called the “Paper Gate.” 

One theory is that the state archives were housed here. Another theory states this was the gate where written requests to the government were submitted.

Foscari Arch

Just beyond the Porta della Carta is the Foscari Arch, a beautiful triumphal arch with Gothic spires and statues, including sculptures of Adam and Eve.

The Foscari Arch is a triumphal arch located in the courtyard of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy. 

It was built in the early 16th century by the architect Antonio Rizzo and is dedicated to Doge Francesco Foscari, who ruled Venice from 1423 to 1457.

The arch is made of Istrian stone and red Verona marble and is decorated with Gothic spires and statues. 

The Foscari Arch is a beautiful and impressive example of Venetian Gothic architecture. 

It is also a significant historical monument and a reminder of the power and prestige of the Doge of Venice.

Scala dei Giganti

This grand staircase leads to the main floor inside the Doge’s Palace.

It is called so because statues of the gods Mars and Neptune flank the top of the Giant’s Staircase.

It was built after a fire in 1483 and was used for the coronation ceremonies of newly elected doges.

The staircase has two statues at the top: one of Poseidon, the God of the sea, and one of Mars, the God of war. 

These statues represent Venice’s power as a trading empire and its political power.

The statues were designed by the famous artist Jacopo Sansovino in 1565. They marked the end of an 80-year renovation of the Doge’s Palace and were an example of the new Renaissance-style architecture.

Scala d’Oro

This “golden staircase” provides a grand entrance for visiting the staterooms on the upper floors of the Doge’s Palace.

It was built in the 16th century and is decorated with a gilded stucco ceiling and walls. 

The staircase is named for its golden glow, which is said to come from the sunlight reflecting off the gold leaf.

The Scala d’Oro was built to provide a grand entrance for dignitaries visiting the staterooms on the upper floors of the Doge’s Palace. 

It is a symbol of the power and wealth of the Venetian Republic, and it is one of the most famous staircases in the world.

The staircase is made of marble and is decorated with 247 gilded relief panels. 

The panels depict scenes from the history of Venice as well as allegorical figures representing virtues such as justice, wisdom, and strength. 

The Scala d’Oro is a masterpiece of Renaissance art and architecture. It is a must-see for anyone visiting the Doge’s Palace.

The Museo dell’Opera

The Museum of the Doge’s Palace houses a collection of architectural elements and sculptures from the palace, dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries.

It is located on the ground floor of the Doge’s Palace and accessible from the Scala d’Oro. The museum has three rooms:

  • The first room contains original capitals from the palace’s 14th-century arcade. These capitals are decorated with intricate carvings of plants, animals, and human figures.
  • The second room contains sculptures from the palace, including a statue of Neptune by Jacopo Sansovino.
  • The third room contains architectural elements from the palace, such as doorways, windows, and fireplaces.

The Museo dell’Opera is a fascinating place to learn about the history of the Doge’s Palace. 

It is also a great place to see some of the finest examples of Venetian Gothic architecture.

Doge’s Palace Prisons

The Doge’s Palace was the Doge’s home and functioned as a courthouse and prison. The prisons were divided into two types: Pozzi and Piombi.

  • The Pozzi were the worst prisons. They were wet, dark, and had poor ventilation.
  • The Piombi were slightly better than the Pozzi. They had more light and space.

The Piombi were reserved for political prisoners or those serving short sentences. 

The famous Casanova was imprisoned in both types of prisons and said that the Piombi was a better place to be than the Pozzi.

The Bridge of Sighs

The famous Bridge of Sighs was built as a walkway between the palace and the prison.

It was built in 1600 and is made of white limestone. 

The bridge has small windows that prisoners could look out of to see the lagoon and San Giorgio for the last time before they were taken to their cells.

The name “Bridge of Sighs” comes from the Romantic Period and refers to the sighs of the prisoners. 

Lord Byron popularized the name when he wrote about it in his book “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.”

Today, the Bridge of Sighs is a popular tourist destination. It is also a popular spot for couples to take gondola rides, especially at sunset.

Armory

The Armory of the Doge’s Palace is a collection of weapons Venetian soldiers used.

The collection includes over 2,000 pieces, including suits of armor, swords, halberds, quivers, and crossbows. 

Also, weapons of Turkish origin were taken during the wars against the Turks.

One of the most famous pieces in the collection is the armor of Erasmo da Narni, aka Il Gattamelata. 

Gattamelata was a famous mercenary who fought for the Venetians in the 15th century.

Another interesting piece in the collection is a miniature suit of armor found on the battlefield in Marignano in 1515. 

It is believed to have belonged to either a child or a dwarf.

The Armory of the Doge’s Palace is a fascinating collection of weapons that tells the story of the Venetian military. 

It is a must-see for anyone interested in history or warfare.

The Doge’s Apartments

The Doge’s Apartments were the official residence of the Doge, the head of state of the Republic of Venice. 

They were located in the Doge’s Palace, between the present Golden Staircase and the apse of St. Mark’s Basilica.

The apartments were destroyed in a fire in 1483 and rebuilt in the Renaissance style. 

The rooms have engraved wooden ceilings, huge marble chimneys, and delicately carved decorations with painting friezes and stuccoes.

Until the 17th century, the rooms were quite small, as the doge was expected to live humbly and focus on his duties to the Republic. 

The incoming doge would bring his furniture and other furnishings from his private residence.

Today, the rooms can be visited and have been outfitted with technology to allow for more dynamic exhibitions while highlighting their original decorations.

Top three Doge Palace Tickets 

Doge Palace is one of the most famous attractions in Venice, with over 1.5 million visitors annually.

There are different types of tickets available. We have handpicked the two most popular tickets among visitors.

Doge’s Palace Skip the Line Tickets

Doge Palace is one of Venice’s most popular tourist attractions, and lines can get long, especially during peak season. 
If you want to save time, the best solution is to purchase skip-the-line tickets.

Doge’s Palace Skip the Line tickets grant access to three more museums: Correr Museum, the National Archeological Museum, and the Biblioteca Marcian.

Doge Palace skip-the-line ticket price:

The price for this ticket starts at €30 for adults ages 15 to 64 years old. 

Youth (6 to 14 years) and students with ID (15 to 25 years) pay a reduced price of €15.

Also, for Seniors beyond 65 years, the price remains the same at €15.

Kids under 5 years old can enter for free.

Ticket TypePrice (€)
Adult ticket (15 to 64 yrs)30
Youth ticket (6 to 14 yrs) 15
Student (with ID) (15 to 25 yrs)15
Infant ticket (up to 5 yrs)Free
Senior ticket (65+ yrs)15

Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica Tour

This 2- to 3-hour tour takes you to Venice’s most iconic landmarks: the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. 

You’ll skip the long lines and see both buildings inside, including the Bridge of Sighs and the cells where Casanova was imprisoned.

Also, you’ll see the Grand Council Chamber, the Hall of the Doges, and the Bridge of Sighs.

The tour includes visiting the terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica, where you can enjoy stunning city views.

This tour is a great way to see the best of Venice in a short amount of time. It is also a great way to learn about the history and culture of the city.

The Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica with terrace access tour varies per your chosen option: Private or Group tours.

The price for a group tour adult ticket (15+ years) is €84, while children (6 to 14 years) pay a discounted price of €42.

Kids (up to 5 years) can tour for free.

The price for a private tour is €180 per person.

Group tour prices

Visitor’s AgePrice
Adult (15+ years)€84
Child (6 to 14 years)€42
Infant (up to 5 years)Free

Private tour price

Visitor’s AgePrice
Participants (up to 99 years)€180

Why is Doge’s Palace Famous?

interior of doge's palace
Image: Nishal Pavithran on Unsplash

The palace is renowned for its stunning Venetian Gothic architecture, intricate artwork, and historical significance.

The Doge’s Palace served as the residence of the Doge, supreme of the former Republic of Venice.

It remained the center of political power, and all the important decisions were made here.

Long ago, in 810, Doge Agnello Participazio moved the government’s place to where the palace is now.

In the 10th century, the old palace was partly destroyed by fire, and a new one was built specially by Doge Sebastiano Ziani.

In the mid-13th century, the palace was rebuilt in a Gothic style due to the increased number of the Great Council’s members.

The Palace started to get old, and in the 19th century, the government restored it as a  museum.

Doge’s Palace Architecture

The Doge’s Palace is famous for several reasons, including its stunning Venetian Gothic architecture. 

The palace is made of white Istrian stone and is decorated with intricate carvings, arches, and columns. 

The palace’s facade is divided into three levels, each with its unique features. 

Its lower level comprises a series of arches, the middle level is decorated with a series of pointed windows, and the upper level is topped with a fence.

It is home to a wealth of intricate artwork. 

The palace is decorated with paintings, sculptures, and frescoes by some of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, including Tintoretto, Veronese, and Titian. 

The most famous artwork in the palace is Tintoretto’s Paradise, the largest oil painting in the world.

How to reach the Doge’s Palace?

There are several options to get to the Doge’s Palace:

By Foot

You can easily walk to the Doge’s Palace if you’re already in Venice.

It is located in the heart of Venice, near St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco).

The palace is just a short walk from many other attractions and areas within the city.

By Water Taxi or Vaporetto

You can reach Doge’s Palace by taking a water taxi, which is a more private option, or by using the Vaporetto, which is a public water bus.

The Vaporetto Line 1 or 2 stops at San Zaccaria, a convenient stop near St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace.

By Gondola

For a unique and romantic experience, you can also reach the Doge’s Palace by taking a traditional gondola ride through the Venetian canals.

Gondoliers operate gondolas and offer a leisurely and scenic way to navigate the city’s waterways.

You can book a tour of the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica with a gondola ride and get up to a 20% discount on the ticket price.

Doge’s Palace Opening Hours 

The Doge’s Palace opens daily between 9 am and 7 pm. The last entry to the Palace is one hour before closing, i.e., 6 pm.

The Doge’s Palace remains closed on certain public holidays, like December 25 and January 1.

It’s best to check the calendar before planning your visit.

How long does it take to visit the Doge’s Palace?

To fully enjoy and understand the Doge’s Palace, allot 2 to 3 hours for your visit. 

Allocate 1 to 1.5 hours to explore the Grand Halls and wander through the lavish rooms, including the Hall of the Great Council, filled with portraits of Venetian Doges.

Visit the Museo dell’Opera for 30 to 45 minutes to see the art, sculptures, and artifacts from the palace’s history.

Don’t miss crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs, which takes just a few minutes.

Is there a dress code for the Doge’s Palace?

There is a dress code for visiting the Doge’s Palace in Venice. Visitors are expected to dress appropriately with clothing that covers the knees and shoulders.

Sleeveless tops, shorts, and skirts that are too short are generally not allowed. It’s recommended to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.

This dress code is in place out of respect for the historical significance of the palace.

Visitors who do not adhere to the dress code may be denied entry.

What is the best time to visit the Doge’s Palace?

The months from April to September are the peak times for the Venice tour.

The best time to visit Doge’s Palace is from April to May and September to November for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

The months from November to February have fewer crowds. Plan a trip in the off-season if you don’t mind colder temperatures.

Additionally, you can visit Doge’s Palace in the morning when it opens at 9 am to avoid crowds.

FAQ’s

Why is Doge’s Palace famous?

The Doge’s Palace is famous for being a historic Palace in Venice, Italy.

It is known for its stunning Gothic architecture, rich history, and role in Venetian politics and culture.

It also served as the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme Leader of the former  Republic of Venice.

What time can you go to Doge’s Palace?

The Doge’s Palace hours of operation are from 9 am to 7 pm daily.

The last entry to the Palace is one hour before closing, i.e., 6 pm.

What is Doge’s Palace entrance fee?

Yes, there is an entrance fee for the Doge’s Palace.

Skip the Line tickets, including entrance to the Doge’s Palace and two other museums, start at €33 Onwards.

 Is there a dress code for Doge’s Palace?

There is a dress code for visiting the Doge’s Palace in Venice.

Visitors to the Doge’s Palace should dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees. 

Sleeveless tops, shorts, and short skirts are not allowed to respect the site’s historical significance.

Those who do not adhere to the dress code may be denied entry.

How long do people spend at the Doge’s Palace?

You need at least 2-3 hours for a comprehensive visit to the Doge’s Palace. 

Donate 1-1.5 hours for a quick visit to the Doge’s Palace if you have a shortage of time.

If you want to explore it deeper, you will need approx. 2-3 hours.

Is Palazzo Ducale the same as the Doge’s Palace?

“Palazzo Ducale” is the Italian name for “Doge’s Palace.”

They refer to the same historical Palace located in Venice, Italy, which was the residence of the Doge of Venice.

What is the best time to visit Doge Palace?

The best time to visit Doge’s Palace is from April to May and September to November for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

So, book your tickets now to explore the palace in peace.

 Is it worth going to the Doge’s Palace?

Yes, the Doge’s Palace is worth a visit, even if you only have a day in Venice. 

The palace has stunning architecture, impressive chambers, and art collections, making it a worthwhile tourist destination.

Featured Image: Tiqets.com

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