The Doge's Palace

The Doge's Palace - a.k.a. Ducal Palace - is a Gothic masterpiece located on Saint Mark's Square in Venice - between St. Mark's Basilica and Saint Mark's Campanile. Built at the entrance of the canal, it can be seen from the Adriatic Sea, thus announcing the richess and splendour of the former Republic of Venice.

Originally, the Doge's Palace was a fortification meant to protect the city against its ennemies and the doges of Venice against the Venitian people's insurrections. The first castle was destroyed during a rebellion in 976, then damaged by the fire in 1106. It was rebuilt in 1172 by the doge Sebastiano Ziani, but only in 1340 was it enlarged so that it became what it is today. The doges - leaders of the Republic of Venice - lived in the Doge's Palace until 1797. Important decisions were taken in richly decorated meeting rooms.

The Doge's Palace was also used as a jail for political prisoners until the 16th Century. The jail was located under the roof where it was very hot. Another jail was later built next to the palace, in the underground where prisoners suffered from cold and damp. This new jail was linked to the Ducal Palace by the Bridge of Sighs - which you can also visit. The name of the "Bridge of Sighs" was due to the idea of prisoners sighing while casting one last look on Venice before getting locked forever into the darkness.

If you are interested in visiting the Ducal Palace, please contact us at . You can enjoy the knowledge of professional English-speaking tour guides about the Doge's Palace but also about any other important monument in Venice. All our city walks can be combined with a visit of a monument or a museum. For further information on walking tours in Venice and guided tours in English in the Doge's Palace, please contact us at .