The Doge’s Palace features the very best and the very worst of Venice’s history – from vast paintings and frescoes by Tintoretto and Veronese to the wooden slot where accusations of treason were slipped to the fearsome Secret Police. To wander the corridors of the Duke’s palace is to understand the Republic of Venice, for better or for worse.
Our extended tour of the palace visits all the best sights open to the public in addition to the Secret Itineraries tour, ensuring you get the most complete tour of the Doge’s Palace available. Marvel over ceilings frescoed by Tintoretto while you think of all the feet that have shuffled across the tiles on which you stand – ambassadors waited nervously in this very spot for an audience with the Doge in the Hall of Four Doors.
In the Chamber of the Council of Ten, as you marvel over Veronese’s ‘Juno Bestowing her Gifts on Venice’ your guide will point you in the direction of a dark corner, dwarfed by the vibrant masterpiece. This unassuming slot was where friends and foes condemned each other in the form of accusations – warranted or not – that were investigated and acted on with frightening brutality.
For all of the splendor that its corridors hold, you would never guess what is hidden upstairs in the Palazzo Ducale. Our Secret Itineraries access means you‘ll get to see the attic prison where Venice’s famous lover and writer Casanova was kept for months before he managed a successful escape. Peering around this dark room, considering the security that he must have been under, it’s almost impossible to imagine how he did it – never mind, our guides have the answers.
Casanova was not the only man to see the Doge’s palace on less than favorable terms. After your guide has left you you'll have the opportunity to visit the Bridge of Sighs – so named for the prisoners that walked its length on their way to cells across the canal. As they took their last look at beautiful Venice they couldn’t help but sigh. Your guide will leave you inside the Palazzo Ducale so that you can cross over to the 16th century New Prisons. If time allows, wander around inside to see the place where condemned prisoners etched out protestations of innocence on the walls.
A visit to the Doge’s Palace is a rollercoaster experience, taking you from the artistic highs of Renaissance Venice to its grim bottom. When you step, blinking back into the sun, your head will be full of masterfully executed paintings and needlessly executed prisoners. One thing is for sure – you’ll never again see Venice in the same light. If you're looking for more Doge's Palace tours, then take a look at our Best of Venice Tour including Doge's Palace.
Please note that children under the age of 6 years are not permitted on this tour.
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