Results 1-10of 24 Reviews
Gravesend, United Kingdom
September 20, 2012
From journal The most beautiful city in the world.
Oxford, United Kingdom
September 15, 2011
Cruising The Eastern Med-Again!
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
July 20, 2010
From journal The Souls of Venice
October 16, 2009
From journal Venice the Jewel of the Adriatic
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
February 21, 2007
From journal We Open In Venice...
New Delhi, India
July 8, 2006
We bought our entry tickets (€12 per person, less if you’re a student, a senior citizen, or part of a group) and entered the massive courtyard at the centre of the palace. Here, the major sight is the Giant Staircase, a structure named for the two massive marble figures that stand atop it on either side. The staircase was used exclusively for the Doge’s inaugurations.
We then made our way to the starting point of the Palazzo Ducale tour, the Golden Staircase. Vividly decorated in gilt and stucco, the staircase led us up to a corridor overlooking the courtyard. Studded in the wall of this corridor is the infamous Bocca dei Leoni (`Lion’s Mouth’), in which Venetians could drop anonymous letters denouncing fellow citizens. The Lion’s Mouth was once symbolic of the intrigue that was so much a part of Venice; today it’s blocked up with a piece of metal.
The trail next led through a series of rooms: the Doge’s Apartments and the Institutional Chambers (used by the Council of ten for judicial and legislative purposes) came first. Each of these chambers is splendidly decorated, with intricately carved and gilded wooden ceilings, and loads of paintings by some of the most famous painters of Venice- Veronese, Bellini, Tintoretto, and Bassano among them. The pictures run the gamut of subjects: there are Biblical scenes, depictions of battle, scenes from mythology (The Rape of Europa by Veronese being one of the most famous) and, as you’d probably expect, plenty of portraits of the rich and famous of Venice. The Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Great Council Hall) has a continuous panel of paintings (by Tintoretto, whose Paradiso, probably the world’s largest oil painting, is also here) depicting each of the 76 Doges of Venice. Or all except one, whose painting was summarily blacked out after he was found guilty of treason.
Beyond these luxurious apartments and offices lies the Armoury. It’s crowded with swords, shields, pikes, muskets, pistols, helmets, armour and other weaponry, all well-polished and dangerous. From the Armoury, the route moves on, over the famous Ponte Dei Sospiri (The `Bridge of Sighs’), to the graffiti-covered cells of the Prison. The Prison’s interiors are very grim and bare, and one can well imagine the despair that gripped most inmates- including perhaps Casanova, who was one of the few who succeeded in escaping!
The route leads back, again over the Ponte Dei Sospiri, to the Palazzo Ducale, where it ends.
In the final analysis, I’d say the €12 is money well spent: the palace is spectacular, the history engrossing, and the art of the finest.
From journal Venice: Another Name for Romance
January 3, 2006
From journal Of Carnivals and Gondolas
by Ed Hahn
Hong Kong, China
September 3, 2005
We basically wander around trying to see everything. I am particularly fascinated by what I learn about the governing system of Venice. It was a republic that operated as an oligarchy. A vast bureaucracy of elected civil servants, committees and councils was presided over by the only figure elected for life, the doge. The system of elected doges lasted for over 1000 years, from 697 to 1789. Interestingly, a really incompetent or evil duke would not last very long. He would just happen to die sooner than he would have from natural causes so the leaders could choose a more suitable candidate. The most famous example is Marino Faliero, the 55th doge. He was appointed in 1354 and by 1355 was plotting a coup to declare himself prince. When he was caught he pleaded guilty, was beheaded, mutilated and all traces of him were expunged from history and memory. His place among the paintings of the 76 doges in the Hall of the Great Council is empty, covered by a black veil.
The first version of the palace was raised in the ninth century but it wasn’t until 1340 that the present building really took shape. Work continued until 1438 when the last piece, the grand entrance was finished. Work on the palace has never really stopped and even today there is a constant effort to maintain, refurbish and restore the building and its contents.
We enter through a side door, into a large courtyard. We can see there is a mix of styles, as successive doges tried to make the palace ever more magnificent. The columns surrounding the courtyard are elaborately carved. Sculptures are scattered about representing scenes from the bible. In the southwest corner there is an enormous staircase, the Scala dei Giganti, overlooked by huge statues of Neptune and Mars. This is where the Doge and his officials received visiting dignitaries.
We ascend the highly gilded "Golden Staircase" and stroll through the doge’s private and public rooms, filled with frescos by Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese and other lesser known artists. We finally reach the aforementioned Hall of the Great Council, perhaps the most magnificent room in the palace. We also visit the armory which has fascinating weapon exhibits. Descending into the building’s bowels, we cross the Bridge of Sighs, so named because it provided prisoners a last look at Venice. We explore the ‘new’ prison, built in the 17th century. Casanova is the only person known to have escaped this horrible place.
We wanted to spend more time here but we become thirsty, hungry and weary and decide to leave.
Open daily. Entry in combination with the Correr Museum: €16. Photo shooting in courtyard only.
From journal Venal Venice - Beautiful and Decaying
Mont Albert North, undefined, Australia
August 3, 2004
The paintings throughout the building are magnificent as are the ceiling decorations. Unfortunately, the ceiling decorations were the end of our permission to take photos. Seems some thoughtless (and probably rather ignorant) people used flashes to take photos and this fades the paintings. Of course, the flash only has a very short range so would have done little to brighten the image. (How a flash from such a distance could affect paintings is another question.) Still, it is one of the things that you need to get used to in Europe. No photos of things that they can sell postcards of!
The Doge's Palace was one of the highlights of the Venice trip. Much more impressive than the church. The paintings gave an insight into the Venetian history.
From journal Venice - very nice!
Cary, North Carolina
July 1, 2004
From journal Ahhhh, Venice!