Doge’s Palace – Venice

piazza San Marco, 1, Venezia
Veneto, Italy
Phone: +39 (0)41 2715911
closed on: open daily
Museum Type: Art
Doge's Palace Venice west facade on St Mark's Square

The Doge’s Palace of Venice (Italian: Palazzo Ducale di Venezia) is one of the most popular museums and cultural attractions in Italy, with over 1.3 million visitors per year.

History and architecture
The palace is an outstanding example of Venetian Gothic and Renaissance architecture, originally built in the 14th century over preexisting medieval palaces and defensive structures, and modified and enlarged repeatedly in the following centuries.
While a Doge’s Palace (which actually was, along with the official residence of the Doges, also the seat of the Government of the Venetian Republic and its courthouse) probably still existed in the 9th century, the Gothic-style building we see today was mostly shaped during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The architectural complex of the Doge’s Palace comprises three main wings. The most ancient wing, which includes the imposing Sala del Maggior Consiglio hall, overlooks the Grand Canal and was built from 1340 onwards. The wing on St Mark’s Square dates back to 1424. The wing which also contains the Doge’s apartment was built between 1483 and 1565; in the same period, the monumental courtyard was also completely renovated.

Until the early 17th century, the palace also housed a prison, known as Piombi (usually translated as The Leads in English and named after its roofing material), which was then moved to the adjacent  Prigioni Nove building and connected since 1614 to the Doge’s Palace by the famous Bridge of Sighs (whose Italian name, Ponte dei Sospiri, alludes to the “sighing” of the unfortunate prisoners once walking on it towards their detention cells).

Collections of fine arts and applied arts
Along with being a monumental architecture, the Doge’s Palace of Venice is also a remarkable art museum; pieces on view in its rooms include paintings and frescoes by artists such as Gentile da Fabriano, Carpaccio, Titian, Andrea Palladio, Tintoretto, Giambattista Tiepolo, and Veronese, among others, together with pieces of decorative arts and furniture.

On the ground floor, in the former kitchen spaces of the building, the palace houses the Museo dell’Opera which presents the long history of the building and its historical development by the means of original architectural elements, capitals, friezes, and other sculptural decorations.

The Doge’s Palace also hosts temporary exhibitions of fine art, history, and applied arts, along with special events, talks, conferences, and educational programs for schools, families, children, and adults.
The historical building of the museum also houses a bookshop and a cafe. The main exhibition of the Doge’s Palace is accessible to physically impaired people, while the old prison, the armory, and some of the medieval rooms are not, unfortunately.

Doge's Palace Venice Canaletto painting

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), Bucentaur’s return to the pier by the Palazzo Ducale, 1727-1729, oil on canvas; photo courtesy of Pushkin Museum, Moscow

Doge's Palace Venice courtyard

The monumental courtyard of the Doge’s Palace; photo courtesy of MuVE

Venice Doge's Palace and St Mark's Basilica ground floor plan

The Doge’s Palace (right) and the St Mark’s Basilica (left) ground floor plan in a 20th-century print

Doge's Palace Venice porta della carta

The main entrance of the Doge’s Palace, known as “Porta della Carta” (1439-1442); photo courtesy of MuVE

Doge's Palace Venice interior

Doge’s Palace, the Sala del Maggior Consiglio hall; photo courtesy of MuVE

Paolo Veronese Rape of Europa painting Doge's Palace Venice

Veronese (Paolo Caliari), The Rape of Europa, 1576 – 1580, oil on canvas, Doge’s Palace, Venice; photo courtesy of MuVE

Doge's Palace museum Venice

Interior view of the Museo dell’Opera with medieval capitals on display in the permanent exhibition; photo courtesy of MuVE

Doge's Palace Venice Piombi prisons

Doge’s Palace, the “Piombi” prison; photo courtesy of MuVE

Doge's Palace Venice Ponte dei Sospiri Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs; photo courtesy of MuVE

Cover Image, Doge’s Palace, Venice, west facade on St. Mark’s Square; photo courtesy of MuVE 

How our readers rate this museum (you can vote)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.45 out of 5)

sponsored links

More in Venice



copyright Inexhibit 2023 - ISSN: 2283-5474