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Doge's Palace

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The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is one of the most popular and impressive sites in Venice. Its Venetian Gothic architecture looks out over the Piazza San Marco and the Venetian Lagoon. Full of secret rooms and hidden corridors, there’s a lot to explore beyond the main exhibition areas, so try a guided tour to see the whole site!
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Tickets

Book tickets in advance to skip the lines when you visit the Doge’s Palace.
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Venice: Doge's Palace Priority Admission Ticket
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Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket with Guide Book
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Guided Tours

Learn even more about the history of the Doges and the Republic of Venice when you take a guided tour.
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The Doge's Palace 1-Hour Tour
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Skip-the-Line Guided Tour of Doge's Palace
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Palazzo Ducale: Skip The Line + Guided Tour
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Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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More Tickets & Tours

Browse even more tickets and tours which feature a trip to the Doge’s Palace.
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Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour
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St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace Fast Track Tour
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Venice Doge's Palace & St Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour
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Venice: Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica Tour
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4 Tips for Visiting the Doge's Palace

Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) | Flickr: Sergey Galyonkin CC BY-SA 2.0
1
See secret roomsTake the Secret Itineraries tour which covers rooms not included in the general admission price, including the torture room, the cell where Casanova was imprisoned, and the secret archives. Just watch out, the ceilings are low and claustrophobic visitors might find it overwhelming.
View from St. Mark’s Basilica | Flickr: Navin75 CC-BY-SA 2.0
2
Skip the lineIf the lines outside the palace are long you can buy the museum pass from Museo Correr, where the lines are usually much shorter, then come back to the Palace when it's less busy.
3
Don't bring high heelsWear comfortable shoes and clothes, you’ll be climbing a lot of stairs!
4
Enjoy a breakIf you’re suffering from museum fatigue then take a break in the palace’s cafe, where you can sit and watch the gondolas go past on the canal.
Doge’s Palace | Ulmon: CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Doge's Palace: The Former Center of Power

The Venetian-Gothic highlight on St. Mark's Square is not only something for art lovers and those familiar with architecture
Venice Doge's Palace facade | Ulmon: CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

History

Built in 1340, the Doge's Palace was the seat of the elected head of the Republic of Venice, the Doge (derived from Latin dux, leader, prince). The Maritime Republic existed until 1797, and later other administrative institutions of subsequent Venetian governments were based here. The palace was built in the Venetian style of Gothic architecture, but later expanded. Today it represents a combination of the Gothic style with Renaissance elements.

During the time of the Doges, not only those had their residence here: prisoners (especially at the time of the Inquisition) were also imprisoned, questioned and sometimes even publicly executed here. Today the Palazzo Ducale is a museum visited by over 1.2 million guests a year.

History of the Doges in the Republic of Venice

The Doges were the leaders of the Republic of Venice from 726 to 1797. They were elected for life by the Venetian nobility, but their power was limited over time as they had to cede certain functions to other officials or committees. In 1796, Venice was occupied by Napoleon's troops, ending the rule of the Doges. Although early Doges often attempted to pass their seat to a son or relative, later rules made this impossible. Nevertheless, the small circles of Venetian nobility ensured that the Doges usually came from a handful of related families. The current mayor of Venice is based in the City Hall, not the Doge's Palace.
Doge's Palace ceiling | Flickr: lovinkat CC-BY 2.0

Most Important Areas of the Palace

Since the building was used in many ways, there are different things to see in its different areas

Museo dell’ Opera di Palazzo

On the second floor is the Museo dell' Opera di Palazzo, which functioned as a construction office, as the Doge's Palace was constantly expanded, rebuilt or renovated over the centuries.

The inner courtyard and the loggias on the upper floor are also worth seeing; they are also home to the Doge's living quarters. The prison and the armory of the palace should also be visited. Throughout, it is important to pay attention to the architectural details of the Doge's Palace, as well as works of art by Tintoretto and Titian and the painted ceilings. The way to the prison crosses the famous Bridge of Sighs.

Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) connects the Doge's Palace with the new prison building on the other side of the Rio de Palazzo. It was built in 1600 specifically for the purpose of carrying prisoners to and from the palace. The name comes from the English poet Lord Byron, who used the term in one of his works. Legends say that when prisoners looked at the city through the windows of the bridge, one or two sighs escaped.
Bridge of Sighs | Pixabay

Museums at the St. Mark's Square: One Ticket, Many Options

Tickets to the Doge's Palace also include admission to other exciting museums at Piazza San Marco.

Museo Correr

The Museo Correr, Venice's municipal museum, features manuscripts, paintings and other art treasures. Admission is included in the Museum Pass for the Doge's Palace.

Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia

Archaeological finds from ancient times can be found in this museum, which is also located in St. Mark's Square and is also worth a visit on other days: the ticket for the Doge's Palace and museums is valid for a full 180 days after purchase for one entry each.

Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana

The Marciana National Library, built by Jacopo Sansovino, represents one of the most important collections of Latin, Greek and Oriental manuscripts. A special highlight of the library is the artistically designed reading room.
St. Mark's Square | Wiki Commons: Son of Groucho from Scotland CC BY 2.0

Practical tips for visiting Palazzo Ducale

Lockers

A cloakroom is available free of charge and bags, rucksacks, and any bulky items must be stored in the cloakroom before you can enter the exhibition.

Accessibility

All of the central areas of the Doge’s Palace are accessible to wheelchair users, but the Secret Itineraries, Prisons, and Armoury are not accessible as they have steps and require visitors to use narrow passageways. Please ask a member of staff who will help you to use the lifts. A wheelchair is available to borrow from the palace for your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I plan for my visit?

If you’re planning to take the Secret Itineraries tour, it takes about 75 minutes. It covers rooms which aren’t included in the general exhibitions, so you should then allow 1 to 2 hours to explore the main exhibition areas as well. If you’re only intending to see the main rooms then 1 to 2 hours should be plenty of time to see everything. Read more.

What is included in the entrance fee?

All tickets for the Palazzo Ducale also include admission to the Museo Correr, the National Archaeological Museum, and the National Library of St. Mark within a period of 6 months. Read more.

General Information

Opening Hours:

From April 1 to October 31 the palace is open from 8.30 am to 9 pm, from Sunday to Thursdays, with final admission at 8 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, the palace is open from 8.30 am to 11 pm, with final admission at 10 pm. From November 1 to March 31 the palace is open daily from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, with final admission at 4.30 pm.

Address:

Palazzo Ducale
San Marco,1
30135 Venice
Italy

Information about COVID-19:

In accordance with current regulations measures are implemented on-site to control the further spread of the coronavirus.

Tickets:

A ticket for the St Mark’s Square Museums (which include the Doge’s Palace, the Museo Correr, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and the Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana) costs €20 and €13 for children aged 6 to 14, students aged 15 to 25, and visitors aged over 65. Entrance is free for children aged 5 and under, and disabled visitors with a companion. Audio guides cost €5 for one person or €8 for two.

How to get there:

The Doge’s Palace is in St Mark’s Square and is surrounded by many of Venice’s biggest tourist attractions. The closest vaporetto stops are S. Marco-Vallaresso (line 1 or line 2), S. Marco-San Zaccaria (lines 1, 2, and 7), and S. Marco-Giardinetti (line 5.1 and 4.1).
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