The Doge's Palace in Venice

The visit of the Doge’s Palace in Venice is a must for your stay in the Serenissima.

The Doge’s Palace was the seat of government of the ancient Republic of Venice, The Palazzo Ducale was the highest expression of the glorious and powerful Serenissima in its artistic splendor and magnificence.

The Palace was the residence of the Doges, the main administrative building, the Public Archives and the Palace of Justice of Venice.

The most decisive events in the history of the thousand-year-old Republic took place within its walls.

You can visit it either on your own with a ticket, or on a guided tour, or on a guided tour coupled with that of the Basilica of San Marco.

Doge's Palace in Venice in front of the lagoon
Doge's Palace in Venice in front of the lagoon
Doge's Palace in Venice Ticket
Doge's Palace in Venice Ticket

Oriane & Angel's opinion

Oriane : A visit to the Doge’s Palace is a must, even if you are only in Venice for a weekend.

Angel : To visit the Doge’s Palace it is best to buy your ticket in advance to avoid the long lines.

Oriane : Anticipation is also necessary if you want to have a visit to the Doge’s Palace with more cultural information with a guided tour in French. Guided tours are often fully booked several days in advance.

Angel : There is also the possibility to cleverly combine the guided tour of the Doge’s Palace with the guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, this is probably one of the best solutions for those who want to learn more with a professional guide.

Façade in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Façade in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice

Practical information to visit the Doge's Palace

What are the opening hours of the Doge’s Palace in Venice?

For 2022 the opening hours are: 9am-7pm every day, with the last entrance at 6pm.
Closed on December 25 and January 1
Outside Covid there are night hours in season until 11pm, and between November and March the Doge’s Palace closes 1 hour earlier.

Accessibility and services at the Doge’s Palace

You will find at the Palazzo Ducale:

  1. Locker rooms
  2. Fully accessible toilets and a baby area
  3. Bookstore and coffee shop
  4. a fully accessible elevator

For people with limited mobility

The Secret routes, the Prisons, and the Armory are not accessible.

How to get to the Doge’s Palace

The Doge’s Palace is located in San Marco,1 30124 Venice, the public access is Porta del Frumento on the Piazetta San Marco.
To go to the Doge’s Palace by vaporetto :

  1. From Piazzale Roma or Santa Lucia Station Vaporetto line 1 stop San Marco Vallaresso or San Zaccaria, line 5.1 or 4.1 stop San Zaccaria, line 2 stop San Marco Giardinetti
  2. From Venice Lido Line 1 stop San Marco Vallaresso or San Zaccaria, Line 5.2 stop San Zaccaria

To know the schedules of the vaporetto and to buy your vaporetto pass, you have our explanatory page : pass vaporetto

Maritime facade of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Maritime facade of the Doge's Palace in Venice

Visit the Doge's Palace

The History of the Doge's Palace

The very first Doge’s Palace was in Rialto

The first building of the Doge’s government was first at the Rialto, then the seat of government was transferred by the Partecipazios in the early ninth century, to the place where it remained thereafter, perhaps based first on pre-existing Roman buildings.
Almost nothing remains of this first version of the Palazzo Ducale, which must have been fortified, one of its towers is usually identified in the square building of the basilica of St. Mark, where the treasury is currently located.

Several fires destroyed the Doge’s Palace

This version of the Doge’s Palace, in its current location, was destroyed by fire along with the basilica in 976 during a rebellion against the Doge Candiano IV. The palace was restored by Pietro Orseolo.
In 1106 a new fire damaged the palace, which was rebuilt and was admired by Emperor Henry V during his reception in 1116.
Other fires took place: 1483, 1574, 1577,…

Where to buy a ticket to visit the Doge's Palace?

Ticket for the Doge's Palace

Adult = €28, Others (Senior, student, youth) = €15
1) Click on the Reservation button then
2) Choose the number of Adults (15 years old to 64 years old), Senior (over 64 years old) Youth (6 to 14 years old) , students with proof (15ans to 25 years old)
3) Click on a DATE.
4) then add to cart, pay, receive your tickets by email, free cancellation

If you prefer a visit to the Doge's Palace with explanations by a professional French guide

If you want to visit the Doge's Palace with real cultural explanations by a professional French guide

To buy it is simple:
1) Choose the day and time of your visit to the Doge's Palace (usually not too early, rather in the late morning)
2) Choose the visit in English or your language with the discounts you have (Youth from 6 to 14 years old discount of 13 euros, under 6 years old free)
3) Pay and receive your tickets by email with all the instructions

If you wish to visit during your stay in Venice both the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica with a professional French guide to make the most of your visits culturally.

If you want to visit both the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica with its paying parts and the terrace, with a French guide.

The purchase is also simple for the most beautiful visit:
1) Select the participants and take advantage of the significant discounts for those under 15 years old, and free for those under 6 years old.
2) Select the desired date.
3) Select the language of your Professional Guide.
4) Select Group up to 20 people 3h (rather than Private Group which is much more expensive).
5) Choose your departure time from those still available
6) Add to cart, pay and receive your tickets and instructions

The courtyard of the Doge's Palace

The inner courtyard of the Doge’s Palace is imposing and magnificent, it is the first step of your visit to the Plazzo Ducale. At the back you will see the famous Staircase of the Giants, the only staircase that remains today, because few know that there were two others that gave access to the loggias. In the center there are two beautiful bronze wells richly decorated, made by Alfonso Alberghetti and Niccolo dei Conti in 1559. All around the courtyard there are porticoes, typical of Venetian architecture. The porticoes and the loggias give the architecture of the palace that extraordinary characteristic lightness.
The courtyard is closed at the front by a fourth side, to the north, where the Doge’s Palace adjoins the Basilica of San Marco, which was the chapel of the Doge. The small marble facade on which the clock is located dates from a renovation made from 1603 to 1614 by Bartolomeo Monopola, son of Alessandro and Pietro Cittadella, and displays 6 statues coming from Greece, gifts of the Procurator Federico Contarin, among which at the bottom left Marcus Aurelius, and above Cicero and Abundance.
Then you continue your visit through the Censors’ staircase, to go up to the second floor along the Renaissance wing, where there are some “bocce di leone”, (mouths of denunciation), in which it was possible, from the end of the XVI century, to denounce crimes and embezzlement in an anonymous way.

Interior courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice seen from the loggia
Interior courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice seen from the loggia
Well in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Well in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Clock in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Clock in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace in Venice

The Golden Staircase

The Scala d’oro, Golden Staircase, stands in the middle of the eastern loggia, and its entrance is decorated by two statues by Tiziano Aspetti (mid-sixteenth century): Hercules striking down the Hydra, and Atlas holding up the world. The famous staircase was created in 1538 under the Doge Andrea Gritti, then modified by Jacopo Sansovino in 1555 and finished by Scarpagnino in 1559. The gilding that gave the name “Sacala d’Oro” to the staircase was made by Alessandro Vittoria, and the frescoes by Battista Franco (restored in 1793 by A. Novelli).
It was the ceremonial staircase that led to the apartments of the Doge.

Scala d'Oro Palais des Doges - Palazzo Ducale - Ducal Palace - Dogenpalast - paleis van de doges
Golden Staircase Ducal Palace
Hercules and Atlas at the foot of the golden stairs of the Doge's Palace
Hercules and Atlas at the foot of the golden stairs of the Doge's Palace
Scala d'Oro Palazzo Ducale Venezia
Golden Staircase Doge's Palace Venice

The Grand Council Chamber / Sala del Maggior Consiglio

It is the largest room in the Palazzo Ducale with its 53 meters in length and 25 meters in width, 10 meters high, it is the hall of the Grand Council of Venice. It was also called Sala dei Pregadi because the nobles were once pregati (invited, or co-opted) by the doge to become members of the senate. In 1319, the possibility of electing new members to the council was abolished in favor of a hereditary right.
The council hall was imagined in the gigantic size you will see, as early as 1340. Its construction and decoration will last dozens of years, and the first assembly in this majestic room will take place on July 30, 1419.
After the fire of 1577, the architect Antonio de Ponte imagined the new room in the same proportions, and entrusted the realization to Jacopo Tintoretto, known as the Tintoretto and his students. Immediately below the ceiling runs a frieze with the portraits of the first seventy-six doges of Venetian history (the others are in the examination room), with their great deeds in cartouche. Every Sunday, the “Sala del maggior consiglio” could gather up to 2000 people, the “nobles” of Venice, to the sound of the bell of San Marco. It was in this room that the election of the Doge began before ending in the voting room, which is just after your visit.
On an entire wall, behind the throne, is the largest canvas in the world, 22 meters by 7 meters, Paradise, painted between 1588 and 1592 by Jacopo Tintoretto, and his workshop, in place of the fresco of Guariento.

The Tintoretto Paradise - Hall of the Great Council Doge's Palace - Palazzo Ducale
The Tintoretto Paradise - Hall of the Great Council Doge's Palace - Palazzo Ducale
Tintoretto's Paradise in the Great Council Chamber of the Doge's Palace
Tintoretto's Paradise in the Great Council Chamber of the Doge's Palace
Ceiling of the Great Council Hall of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Ceiling of the Great Council Hall of the Doge's Palace in Venice

The other rooms (click if you want to see the whole list, click again to close the list)

During your visit you will admire:

  1. Doge’s Apartment
    • Sala degli Scarlatti with its carved ceiling and a Madonna and Child by Titian. The room, once used as an antechamber for the Doge’s advisors, may have been named for the color of their togas. The carved ceiling is preserved, probably designed and executed by Biagio and Pietro da Faenza, on which is the coat of arms of the Doge Andrea Gritti (doge from 1523 to 1538)
    • Sala dello Scudo
    • Sala Grimani : The carved ceiling of this room dates back to the Barbarigo doges (1485/1501), but the coat of arms applied in the center at the end of the 16th century is that of the Grimani family, which gave three doges to the Republic.
    • Sala Erizzo
    • Sala degli Stucchi o Priuli
    • Sala dei Filosofi : the room is named after twelve images of ancient philosophers that were placed there in the 18th century, later replaced by
      allegories and portraits of doges.
    • Sala Corner
    • Sala dei Ritratti
    • Sala degli Scudieri
  2. Salles institutionnelles
    • Liagò : In Venetian dialect, “liagò” means veranda or terrace closed by glass windows. This room was used as a promenade and meeting place for the patricians between the frequent sessions of the Maggior Consiglio.
    • Sala della Quarantia Civil Vecchia
    • Sala del Guariento
    • Sala del Maggior Consiglio
    • Sala dello Scrutinio, which in ancient times was called the Library, because it contained precious manuscripts left by Petrarch and Bessarion. Then it was in this room that the electoral counting operations took place. The walls tell the story of the battles won from 809 to 1656: The battle of
      Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino, 1571; the Victory of the Venetians over the Turks in the Dardanelles by Pietro Liberi, painted between 1660 and 1665, the Victory of the Venetians over the Turks in Albania by Pietro Bellotti, 1663; the conquest of Tyre by Antonio Aliense, 1590; the naval victory of the Venetians in Jaffa against the Egyptians by Sante Peranda, 1605.
    • Sala della Quarantia Criminale : room dedicated to the administration of justice, the room is decorated with wooden stalls dating from the 17th century.
    • Sala dei Cuoi
    • Sala del Magistrato alle Leggi
    • Sala del Consiglio dei Dieci
    • Sala della Bussola : It is in this room that the series of spaces dedicated to the functions of Justice begins, it is the anteroom for those who have been summoned by the magistrate. The statue of Justice surmounts the large wooden compass that gives its name to the room.
    • Sala del Senato
    • Sala dell’Anticollegio
    • Sala del Collegio

In all the rooms works of Tintoretto, Veronese, Zelotti, Tiepolo… So many great artists of the XVIth and XVIIth centuries to admire…

Ceiling of the Hall of the Vote Doge's Palace Venice
Ceiling of the Hall of the Vote Doge's Palace Venice
Anselm Kiefer Venezia, Palazzo Ducale – Sala dello Scrutinio
Anselm Kiefer Venezia, Palazzo Ducale – Sala dello Scrutinio
Hall of the Council of Ten in the Doge's Palace in Venice
Hall of the Council of Ten in the Doge's Palace in Venice
Hall of the compass Doge's Palace of Venice
Hall of the compass Doge's Palace of Venice
Statue of Adam by Antonio Rizzo in the voting room
Statue of Adam by Antonio Rizzo in the voting room
Statue of Eve by Antonio Rizzo in the voting room
Statue of Eve by Antonio Rizzo in the voting room
Ceiling of the Senate Hall in the Doge's Palace in Venice
Ceiling of the Senate Hall in the Doge's Palace in Venice
Clock with zodiac Sala del Senato Doge's Palace
Clock with zodiac Sala del Senato Doge's Palace
Another example of a ceiling from the Doge's Palace in Venice
Another example of a ceiling from the Doge's Palace in Venice
Other ceiling of a room in the Doge's Palace
Other ceiling of a room in the Doge's Palace
Hall of the College Doge's Palace of Venice
Hall of the College Doge's Palace of Venice
Ceiling of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Ceiling of the Doge's Palace in Venice

The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs by Antonio Contin connects since 1614 the Palazzo Ducale and the magistrates’ offices to the New Prisons (Prigioni Nuove) over a canal through two corridors. Its name comes from the sighs of the prisoners, which has been transformed with tourism and the disappearance of the operation of prisons for a long time, into sighs of the lovers of Venice. The two corridors are also connected to the service staircase that goes from the Wells (pozzi) to the Piombi.

Bridge of Sighs (view from the Canonica bridge)
Bridge of Sighs (view from the Canonica bridge)
Bridge of Sighs of Venice seen from the Doge's Palace
Bridge of Sighs of Venice seen from the Doge's Palace
Panorama from the Bridge of Sighs: New Prisons on the left, Doge's Palace on the right, Rio della Canonica and its bridge, lagoon and San Giorgio in the background
Panorama from the Bridge of Sighs: New Prisons on the left, Doge's Palace on the right, Rio della Canonica and its bridge, lagoon and San Giorgio in the background

The prisons

The new prisons can be visited with a guided tour, where you will see the graffiti of the prisoners in the dungeons, the wet wells (pozzi), while the ancient prisons “piombi” that are under the roofs of the Palazzo Ducale, and where Casanova was imprisoned are visitable only with the secret itinerary of the Doge’s Palace.

Door of the corridor giving access to the dungeons and prisons
Door of the corridor giving access to the dungeons and prisons
The Prisons of the Doge's Palace
The Prisons of the Doge's Palace

Staircase of the Giants

To contemplate the Staircase of the Giants is to contemplate a perfect example of the Renaissance in Venice. Of inestimable artistic value, Scala dei Giganti played a fundamental role in the political life of the Republic. The Staircase of the Giants was built by Antonio Rizzo after a decision of the Maggior Consiglio of the Serenissima in 1484.
It was at the top of the Staircase of the Giants that the new Doge of Venice received the Zoia (or Doge’s horn), the headgear that he always had to wear, and that, visible to all, he pronounced during the coronation ceremony, his oath of absolute fidelity to the Republic of Venice (il promissio ducis).

To make this political place more solemn, two statues by Jacopo Sansovino, representing Mars, god of war and earth, and Neptune, god of the sea, were placed in this place in 1566. With these giant statues, the staircase took the name of Staircase of the Giants.

All the steps of the staircase are decorated according to a very old technique, coming from Egypt.

Steps of the Giants' Staircase
Steps of the Giants' Staircase
The Staircase of the Giants seen from the back of the inner courtyard of the Doge's Palace
The Staircase of the Giants seen from the back of the inner courtyard of the Doge's Palace
Statue of Mars at the top of the Staircase of the Giants in the Doge's Palace
Statue of Mars at the top of the Staircase of the Giants in the Doge's Palace
Statue of Neptune at the top of the Staircase of the Giants
Statue of Neptune at the top of the Staircase of the Giants

The armory

The visit to the armory of the Doge’s Palace is interesting because you can admire a splendid collection of armor from the Middle Ages that were used in battles or tournaments of the time, including the armor of King Henry V of France. You will also discover weapons that were used by the guards of the Palazzo Ducale to defend the Doge and rare weapons such as Ottoman halberds, swords with built-in firearms.

Armurerie du Palais des Doges
Armurerie du Palais des Doges

Porta della carta

The Porta della Carta, which is located on the piazetta next to the Basilica of San Marco, was so called because scribes (public writers) used to have their shops here and write petitions and legal documents for the illiterate. This door of the Doge’s Palace is full of rich decorations and, originally, the door was even called the golden door because the statues and ornaments were covered with gold.
This Door of the Papers, Porta della Carta, was made by the family of stonemasons BON, father and son Bartolomeo from 1439 to 1432. Here you will find the statue of Justice with a sword and scales, dominating the four statues of the Virtues: Temperance, Strength of Soul, (made by the Tuscan Pietro LAMBERTI), Prudence, Charity, (made by Antonio BREGNO). The Doge Francesco FOSCARI, kneeling before the Lion of St. Mark, is under the triple-arched window on the second floor. When Napoleon’s army entered Venice in 1797, this statue was destroyed because it was too much of a reminder of the lagoon city’s splendor and thousand-year-old history. The one you will see is a reproduction of 1885 by L. FERRARI.

Porta della Carta Palazzo Ducale
Porta della Carta Palazzo Ducale
Porta della carta Doge's Palace seen from the Piazzetta
Porta della carta Doge's Palace seen from the Piazzetta

The Facades

The Doge’s Palace, like all the buildings in Venice, was built on a forest of larch or oak poles (pali) 2 to 4 meters high and 20 centimeters in diameter, at a rate of 10 poles per square meter, and stone from Istria.

The Palazzo Ducale is in the Venetian Gothic style and you can admire the inversion of the masses: the lower parts are very airy, open, light, with the porticos and then above the loggias open onto the lagoon or the piazzetta, and above are the solid parts.

The first floor consists of a portico of 36 columns, whose sculpted capitals support the arches. Above, the gothic loggia gives rhythm to the facade by multiplying the columns and the arches, an arch on the ground floor gives two arches on the floor above, and two columns give 3 columns, like the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence.

Then there is a kind of key, a flower with 4 petals, typical of the Doges’ Palace.

The south and west sides of the palace have three floors, while the east side has four, creating .

On both facades there are large balconies with groups of sculptures. If you look at the upper floor of the facade towards the pier, you will notice two windows with three arches, called triforiums, which are the oldest part.

The external facades are two-tone, covered with white Istrian stone and pink Verona marble, in a play of shadows, lights and colors that distill the reflections of the lagoon.

At the very top, airy shapes that resemble small bell towers stand out against the sky, playing, like the whole building, with light.

Façade of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Façade of the Doge's Palace in Venice
Façade of the Doge's Palace in Venice seen from the Piazzetta
Façade of the Doge's Palace in Venice seen from the Piazzetta

Secret routes

The secret itineraries of the Doge’s Palace allow you to visit the piombi, the torture rooms, the judges’ offices, and many other secret places of the Doge’s Palace.

Secret routes Piombi Prigioni Vecchie Palazzo Ducale
Secret routes Piombi Prigioni Vecchie Palazzo Ducale

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