The Doge’s Palace: The Most Serene RepublicVenice, Italy
The Doge’s Palace, covered with the paintings of the greatest Masters of the Venetian school, is an exaltation of Venice, the mirage of the Adriatic that developed from a safe haven for lagoon dwellers to a maritime Empire that tamed the sea from East to West. Turn back the clock to the sublime days of La Serenissima and discover the Doge’s Palace!
1. The Entrance / Porta del FrumentoVenice mushroomed into an immense city for the European standards of the 13th century. Trade expansion was an issue of survival!
2. Scala dei GigantiThe Coronation of the new doge was a magnificent spectacle that culminated at the foot of the iconic staircase of the giants. Can you recognize who are the two gods depicted?
3. Doge Girolamo Priuli by TintorettoBeing a Doge also required wearing the ducal horn, the special ducal hat, which might be somewhat funny but was one of the most expensive items in the Doge’s wardrobe!
The Big Hungry City
The Entrance / Porta del FrumentoToday visitors to the Doge’s palace access the museum through the entrance called Porta del Frumento. This was not always the main entrance as in the past Palazzo Ducale was reached from the monumental Late Gothic gate situated on the Piazzetta side, which we shall see later. In fact, Porta del Frumento, accessed from the waterfront side of the Palace, means “Wheat Gate” and owes its name to the fodder office, the so-called Ufficio delle Biade that was located nearby and was responsible for monitoring the quantity, quality and prices of barley, rye, millet, and oats. Foodstuff was the bulk of the Venetian trade and regulating its supply and demand was indispensable, not only for the Republic’s wealth but also its survival. By the 13th century, Europe was in the middle of a long boom and its population was growing rapidly. La Serenissima had 100000 inhabitants making it the 3rd largest city in Europe after Paris and Naples. For a landless state like Venice, famine was a constant threat!
Mars and Neptune
Scala dei GigantiThe visual rhetoric of power is also manifested with the sculptures that decorate the stairway, the larger than life-size sculptures of Neptune and Mars, to which it owes its name, the Staircase of the Giants. The two gigantic figures were sculpted by Jacopo Sansovino and symbolize the Venetian Republic’s mastery over land and sea. The sovereignty of Venice extended over three domains, the Dogado, which was the homeland of the Republic headed by the Doge, the Domini di Terraferma, which were the mainland domains, and finally the Stato Da Mar, the maritime and overseas possessions of the state. The installation of the two massive statues was the last final touch to the stairway that was completed in 1565 and added to the entire courtyard a Renaissance finesse.
The Doge’s Funny Hat
Doge Girolamo Priuli by TintorettoThe Atrium Quadratum, meaning square atrium, served largely as a waiting room to the institutional chambers of the palace on the second floor. The decoration dates from the 16th century, during the rule of Doge Girolamo Priuli, who is depicted in the central panel painted by Tintoretto, accompanied by the personifications of Justice and Peace. The commissioning doge is painted here wearing the curious headgear of the Venetian doges, also known as the ducal horn or the zoia, meaning jewel, as it was covered with pearls, rubies, diamonds and emeralds having a value of more than 200.000 ducats. It was worn over the camauro, which was a cap of white canvas covering the ears of the doge. The ducal horn was given in 864 as a gift to the Doge Pietro Tradonico by the abbess Agostina Morosini during one of his customary visits to the monastery of San Zaccaria. Tip! As you stroll around the beautiful streets and canals of Venice, take a look at the front ornament of the gondola, the so-called ferò da próva, which has been inspired by the shape of the hat of the doge!
Our stories are zany and so is the team of creative writers, thinkers, doers & explorers behind them: a dedicated art conservator, who if left unattended will be found making stuff out of paper and fabric, a caring archaeologist with long Renaissance curls who loves art and baking & a passionate travel writer suffering from incurable wanderlust and a healthy obsession with Thomas Pynchon. To this, add a gifted graphic designer, who playfully experiments with designs, colors, hairstyles, and fashion transformations daily, and a world-class network of travel experts and accredited tour guides who share our crush for ingenuity and create distinctive tours and travel stories that bring the world closer to you!
Contributors and Bibliography
|Address||Palazzo Ducale San Marco,1 30135 Venezia Entrance for the public: Porta del Frumento|
|Starting point||Porta del Frumento|
|Finishing point||Porta della carta|
The ticket is not included in the price of this tour.
|Areas||Courtyard, scala dei giganti, Scala d’Oro, Senate hall, sala del magior consiglio, sala del collegio, armory, prisons, ponte dei sospiri, porta della carta|
|Opening hours||From April 1st to October 31st: Sundays to Thursdays 8.30 am – 9 pm (last admission at 8.30 pm) Fridays and Saturdays 8.30 am – 11 pm (last admission at 10.30 pm) From November 1st to March 31st: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm (last admission at 6.30 pm)|
|Additional admission||Ticket full price: 25,00 euro|
|Directions to Starting Point||VAPORETTI From Piazzale Roma: Line 1, Vallaresso or San Zaccaria stop; Line 2 Giardinetti stop; Line 5.1 or Line 4.1, San Zaccaria stop From Santa Lucia Railway Station: Line 1, Vallaresso or San Zaccaria stop; Line 2 Giardinetti stop; Line 5.1|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.