The Doge’s Palace is located in Venice, Italy and it was not only the center of government during the Venetian Republic but it was also the residence of the Doge. The Doge was an elected lord and Chief of State during the medieval and renaissance periods.
The unique architectural design makes it one of Europe’s most recognizable building. The upper level has a diamond patterned brick design and the middle level has an open air walkway around the outside with decorative columns supporting the upper level.
The ground floor level has a beautiful open air covered walkway on the side that faces the Grand Canal and on the side that is next to St. Mark’s Square. A canal separates the palace from the prison and gondolas sometimes pass between the two.
A small walking bridge connects the Doge’s palace to the prison. This bridge is what the convicted prisoners used to pass from the court room to the prison. It is known as the “bridge of sighs”. See the link at the bottom for my post on the “bridge of sighs” for more information about this bridge.
The main entrance to the palace is through a huge doorway that connects the palace to St. Mark’s Basilica. Above the door is a statue of the Doge kneeling to the lion of St. Mark.
In the center of the building is a large central courtyard.
The Staircase of the Giants is the entrance from the courtyard to the State Apartments on the upper floor. It is named for the two giant statues of Mars and Neptune that symbolizes Venice’s power on land and sea.
The Staircase of the Giants is impressive for its size but the Stairs of Gold that leads to the 2nd floor of the palace is exceptional with its golden arched ceiling. Details of the staircase are shown in the photos below.
The chamber of the council is where the cabinet met under the chairmanship of the Doge. The painting in the center of the ceiling represents the triumph of Venice.
The Hall of the Great Council was the seat of the lower house of the Venetian Parliament. It is a room that measures 54 meters by 25 meters and holds 1800 people.
The painting behind the seats of the Doge and the highest officials is 22 meters wide and seven meter high and is the world’s largest oil painting.
Places like this always amaze me. They are huge, the façades are decorated with hand carved statues and the interiors are over the top with masterpieces on the walls and ceilings.
I have seen other places like this mostly in palaces and in the Vatican. Each time I have been in a place that exhibits this kind of wealth, words just escape me. I don’t know how to describe the scene. I guess it is good that I can show a small portion of the sights through my photos.