The Ducale Palace was also called Palazzo Dogale in the past, as it has always been the seat of the Doge, the highest office of the Republic of Venice, located a few steps from the famous Basilica of San Marco. It is one of the symbols of all of Venezia, and above all of the monumental area of the San Marco district, overlooking the Venetian basin is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

The Ducale Palace

Its inlaid colonnades and its elegant structure recall hints of Byzantine and Oriental architecture, clear traces of a sumptuous past, made of great commercial and cultural exchanges between the Serenissima Republic and the rest of the world.

The Ducale Palace

In the 8th century, the first inhabitants of Venezia, still dominated by the Byzantine empire, decided to be ruled by a doge, so they started looking for a suitable place for the seat of the new government. The first palace, of which we have no trace, was built in the 18th century in Herissa, that is Eraclea, and the first doge of the Republic of Venice was Paolo Lucio Anafesto.

The Ducale Palace

Over time the seat was moved several times, the doge Teodato Ipato moved it to Metamaucum, in the southern area of the current Lido, because he considered it safer, until in 810 the doge Agnello Partecipazio donated his islet, thus building the palace in front of the San Marco Basin, starting the construction of a wooden fortress that surrounded the Doge's residence and the first church of San Marco.

Obviously, over the centuries, the building has undergone numerous changes but has always been the seat of the Venetian government, the dogal residence and the palace of justice. Its designers broke with tradition, placing the bulk of the Verona marble building on a porch in Istrian stone perforated like lace, which in turn rests on a large porch.

The result is a true emblem of the flowery Gothic style, an elegant, delicate, sumptuous palace, which highlights the aesthetic and power ambitions of the Venetian doges, and which transformed the San Marco district into a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

The Ducale Palace

The place of greatest impact of the building is undoubtedly the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, the largest in the world, with the characteristic of being free of vertical elements such as columns or pillars. Initially, inside the palace, there were also prisons but in 1569, for reasons of space, the construction of the New Prisons was necessary, building them in the neighboring palace.

The Porta della Carta, located between the palace and the Basilica, was built by Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon in a flowery Gothic style, it was once used as a posting of decrees and new laws. A few steps away we find the Statues of the Tretarchi, they are four figures carved on Egyptian red porphyry, which according to Venetian traditions and popular stories were four petrified thieves from San Marco, for trying to steal precious and sacred objects from the basilica.


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