The Doge’s Palace (Italian: Palazzo Ducale) was the residence of the Doge, the supreme political authority of the former Republic of Venice.
The Palace hosted the political institutions of the Republic of Venice until the fall of the Republic, after Napoleon invasion of the city in 1797.
Nowadays, the Palace is one of the most important and beautiful museums in Venice.
The building, as we know it, was firstly built in 1340.
Doge’s Palace is famous for its two wings, one overlooking the lagoon (the oldest) and one overlooking the small square near San Marco. Doge’s Palace has two doors: Porta del Frumento and Porta della Carta.
The history of this palace is strictly connected with all the main historic events of Venice. Here is where the Full College (sort of Parliament), the Council, the Senate and many other political institutions gathered.
Beside the political institutions, the Doge’s Palace hosted also the criminal institutions of the Republic as well as the prisons.
It is easy to understand why Doge’s Palace was seen as the symbol of the power over Venice and has been, during the centuries, the background of many dark histories and conspirations: e.g. Congiura del Tiepolo.
Among the many legends surrounding this building, there are some known by every venetian.
- One of the most famous stories is the one related to the Bridge of Sighs built in 1614 to link the Doge’s Palace to the New Prisons on the other side of a small canal. The famous name of the bridge is supposed to refer to the sighs of prisoners who, passing from the courtroom to the prisons, took a last look at freedom as they watched the lagoon and San Giorgio through the small windows of the bridge;
- On the side overlooking St. Mark Square, there are two pink columns between the other white columns. According to the legend, that was the place were death sentences were delivered;
- Doge’s Palace is famous for its secret rooms and corridors. Taking a secret tour of the Palace is very much interesting.