Travel to Venice

Day 2 Venice (Doge´s Palace, Rialto)

Venice


 

The Doge´s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), located at the eastern end of the St Mark´s Square, is a symbol of glory and power of Venice. Gothic style building, its two most visible facades look towards the lagoon of Venice and the Piazza San Marco. The palace was the residence of the Doge, seat of government and court of justice and prison of the Republic of Venice.

Venice - Doge's Palace
Venice - Doge´s Palace

On the façade, the ground floor and first floor have a gallery or porch. Above, the smooth wall, with only large windows in the facing spaced, is decorated with pink and white marble top. The portico on the ground floor is based on thirty-six columns richly decorated capitals belonging to the XIV and XV. In the corners of the palace several sculptural groups from left to right represent the Judgement of Solomon, Adam and Eve and Noah drunk. The open upper gallery has 71 columns topped with lobed oculus.

Venice - Doge's Palace
Venice - Doge´s Palace

The main facade of the courtyard is a Renaissance work with an extraordinary sculptural decoration and a succession of arches and the base of the ornamentation are pilasters, friezes and oculus The wells with bronze curb are from sixteenth century. Beside the Foscari portico is the small facade of the Clock, made in 1615 by Monopola. Beside and above the portico stands a XV century building topped with pinnacles which hold statues. At one end of the famous portico you can find the famous stairs, Scala del Giganti, with sculptures by Sansovino representing Mars and Neptune.

Venice - Doge's Palace
Venice - Doge´s Palace - Scala d´Oro

The inside (which hosts the Doge´s apartments) was built after the great fire of 1483 according to project architect Antonio Rizzo. Successive embellishments were alternated with wildfire throughout the sixteenth century. Just one of these incidents led to the creation of the main treasure of the building: the giant Crucifixion by Tintoretto, painted to replace a mural damaged in a fire. Doge´s apartments are accessed by the Scala d´Oro (golden staircase).

Venice - Doge's Palace
Venice - Doge´s Palace - Scala dei Giganti

We visit the rooms where they lived the Bulldogs, the voting room, the armory, the courts and the prison. In "Doge´s Apartment", is admirable the decoration of the rooms and the tables that house, works of artists such as Veronese, Titian and Tintoretto show the history of Venice. Continuing the tour we reached the Hall of Consiglio Maggiore, in which more than 1,000 people vote on fate of La Serenissima. In this room you can find "Paradise", the world´s largest painting, work of Tintoretto. Other highlights are the rooms of the Senate and the Sala dello Scudo noted for its two huge globes and maps.

Venice - Doge's Palace - Bridge of Sighs
Venice - Doge´s Palace - Bridge of Sighs

In the armory you can see all kinds of armor and weapons, from classic to sophisticated firearms. The tour ends with the prison. In the early seventeenth century were added those named Prigioni Nuove (New Prisons), beyond the canal, by the architect Antonio Contin. Was connected to the Palace by Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). It is a bridge of baroque construction from eighteenth century which gives access to the dungeons of the palace. His name comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of the sky and the sea.

Venice - Fabbriche Nuove
Venice - Fabbriche Nuove

Rialto is an area of the San Polo sestiere of Venice, known for its markets and the Rialto Bridge. It became an important district in 1097, when Venice´s market moved there. The market grew, both as a retail and as a wholesale market. Warehouses were built, including the famous Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the other side of the bridge. Meanwhile, shops selling luxury goods, banks and insurance agencies appeared and the city´s tax offices were located in the area.

Venice - Rialto market
Venice - Rialto market

Most of the buildings in the Rialto were destroyed in a fire in 1514, the sole survivor being the church San Giacomo di Rialto, while the rest of the area was gradually rebuilt. The Fabriche Vechie dates from this period, while the Fabbriche Nuove is only slightly more recent, dating from 1553. The statue Il Gobbo di Rialto was also sculpted in the sixteenth century. The area is still a busy retail quarter, with the daily Erberia greengrocery market, and the fish market on the Campo della Pescheria.


 

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