Venice is an iconic place by itself – but it has some real key attractions as well. Without a doubt, the Doge’s Palace or Palazzo Ducale is one of the most iconic and famous ones in the city. During the impact of the pandemic (i.e. reduced travel volumes), I have been lucky to have a look into this iconic building, which is a museum nowadays.
Doge’s Palace – Location & Admission
The Doge’s Palace is located right at St. Mark’s Square in Venice and thus in the absolute touristic heart of the city. Piazza San Marco, as it is named in Italian, hosts a couple of other key museums like the Museo Correr, but also the tower. Generally, during non-Covid-19 times, the square and the area around is crowded with tourists. The most touristic way to reach Doge’s Palace is by the signature Venice public transport, the vaporetto boats. It is however also very doable to simply walk through the city – on average to peak time days, neither of the option might be really a fun one due to the crowds.
At the time of writing, the museum is open between 9:00 and 19:30 hrs with a last time slot for admittance at 18:30. The key time for admissions is 10:00 to 17:00 hrs, though. The ticket, including Museo Correr, is 26 Euro for adults. There are various packages, either including other museums or also public transport options. All have in common that you need to book a time slot (and even then might run into major queues). During my time of visit, there was no waiting line at all, so that it was absolutely stunning and unique.
Doge’s Palace – The Visit
During my visit, you headed through the Doge’s Palace on a one way round-trip through the massive building, which was on the one hand a Palace with a lot of splendor, but on the other hand also a social building, which included a court and the prison. Your visit starts in the palace area, though, which just leads you to some very breathtaking rooms and experiences. I am neither good enough in arts nor in architecture to give you pleasing picture of the details unfortunately. Most of the sings on tour are in key touristic languages. There are also audio guides, usually.
Chamber of the Great Council – One of the key Highlights
After these first steps, you also more and more get into the administrative functions the doges had for the city. You for example pass the armory exhibition. After that, the tour headed into one of the highlights of your visit, the Chamber of the Great Council, which has been restructured in the 14th century and is coming with some very impressive fresco. An absolutely stunning place – it has been such a unique gift to be in the huge room with just maybe two dozen other people.
The Bridge of Sighs and More
You have more and more possibility now also to explore some great views of Venice through the windows. You are also heading towards the Bridge of Sighs, which is named due to the fact that it connects the palace with the prison area and that many people who had to walk across the covered bridge in fact faces a rather unfortunate faith. Crossing the bridge for the first time (you also take the walk back) also leads you to the prison area, where you can explore the less colorful part of this architectural structure. During that visit (which was self-guided due to Covid-19), you also of course learn a lot about the history of the city.
You finally visit some more of the institutional room like The Chamber of the State Advocacies. The last steps through the palace give you some amazing views of the lagoon and the canals. A visit of the Doge’s Palace thus gives you somehow a complete view of the Venice.
Doge’s Palace – Services
Of course, there is a museum store with a wide range of items – not too touristic ones, though.
At the end of the tour I went ot the museum cafe and tried some of the sweet and savory food – also due to the interesting architecture and to give yourself some time to reflect what you saw during the visit, I can absolutely recommend this beautiful place.
Doge’s Palace – My View
With long queues in the summer heat, people were more or less begging to be able to enter to the Doge’s Palace in the past. That’s not always a good sign for quality – but in case of the Doge’s Palace, the people are absolutely right. It is a breathtaking place, which is having something for any kind of visitor. You can spent hours being impressed by all the fresco, paintings, sculptures and other piece of arts. You may also just mentally step back into earlier centuries and explore life in a period, in which Venice had good and bad times. Finally, you even have the scary moments in the prison or the great views of the city.
Is there any doubt that this is a must-visit? The only reason not to visit this place is that you don’t have sufficient times to beat the line of a day trip (which would be a shame).
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