The Doge’s palace: the beating heart of Venice

Sep 16, 2016 | architecture, art, history, painting, palace, sculpture | 0 comments

A tour inside the Doge’s Palace: the beating heart of Venice

Despite all this talk about the Secret Venice or the Hidden Venice, the Doge’s Palace is still the most beautiful, iconic and representative Venetian site to me: maybe that’s influenced by the hundreds of tours I had there, but it really feels like home to me.

I can say, indeed, that I have experienced this palace in every season – in the hottest days of summer, in the pouring rain, in the snow, in the water flooding and plunged in the thick fog – and any time of the day, even at dawn and in the dark: well, this is still a very special place for me, since it has not disclosed all of its secrets yet.

 

To reach the “top” you need the “best”: the Doge’s Palace with a Best Venice Guide is an entirely different story!

If you want to get the most out of it, you cannot visit the Doge’s Palace on your own and unprepared: it is not a picture gallery where you can benefit from what you have learnt during your art classes at school, but a real historical museum housing the essence of the Venetian civilization.

Why was Venice nicknamed Serenissima (the Most Serene) by the way? It might sound curious: quite a weird name, given that in the middle ages, life in the other Italian towns, ruled by dukes, kings and lords, was far from being serene. On the contrary, they were always dealing with riots and rebellions.

armour of King Henry IV, King of France

armour of King Henry IV, King of France

 

A tour in the Doge’s Palace would also clarify this issue and much more, as long as you have a knowledgeable touristic guide who can revive these “old stones” and translate their soft whispers into a compelling story: you need a Best Venice Guide indeed!

Don’t think that the Doge’s Palace is a boring museum: as a mother of two young twin boys, I can understand the needs of families with kids, and even if some might think it’s a true challenge, I still suggest my special tour of the Doge’s Palace, customized as a kids-friendly tour, sometimes in the form of a scavenger hunt. Why not?

Morion helmet in the Armoury

Morion helmet in the Armoury

Between History and Arts to discover the soul of the Republic of Venice

Usually, the classical tour of the Doge’s Palace starts in the magnificent Courtyard, where we search for the signs of the primitive castle almost totally disappeared because of the many fires and reconstructions, until we find the entrance of the ancient prison of Venice, the Pozzi (wells) .

We spend a little bit of time imaging the Doge climbing the monumental Giants’ Staircase to swear allegiance to the Republic of Venice, between Mars and Neptune, symbols of the eternal Venetian domination of the earth and of the sea.

Then, passing by the Loggia, we get to the terrific Scala d’Oro (Gold Staircase) that will leave us breathless: we could spend the whole day here, closely observing the grotesque low reliefs representing sea monsters, witches, dragons splitting fire, satyrs…

Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra

Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra

Our tour continues in the sumptuous Institutional Chambers – adorned with canvas by important Italian painters such as Tintoretto, Veronese and Tiziano – where the Councils administered the Venetian government and a quite modern and efficient system of Justice.

Titian, Doge Grimani in adoration of Faith

Titian, Doge Grimani in adoration of Faith

The itinerary may also include the Doge’s Apartment, composed by representative offices and a few rooms dedicated to the private life of the highest office of the state, and also the Armory, where the kids can unleash their imagination, among swords, shields and ancient rifles and guns…

Bridge of Sighs and representation of the drunkenness of Noah

Bridge of Sighs and representation of the drunkenness of Noah

Finally, we walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs to visit the Prisons

view from the Bridge of Sighs

view from the Bridge of Sighs

Rossana Colombo
BestVeniceGuides
www.venice-guide.it
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