Sunday, June 28, 2015

Doge's Palace: Much Beauty, Such Palace, Wow

While in Venice, I decided to visit the famous Doge's palace or Palazzo Ducale in Italian. Dated to have been first built during the 10th-11th centuries, the palace has been subject to multiple renovations and additions to its present renaissance state, which is known to have been built between 1483 and 1565. It's located inside the Piazza San Marco right next to Saint Mark's Cathedral where it stands as the symbol of the old Venetian Empire. The place housed the Doge, which was the chief magistrate of the republic and can be compared to as a duke almost. But unlike a duke he was an elected official, who's term lasted until death. The palace was also home to the inter workings of the Republic of Venice's very modern and ahead-of-its-time government, which was composed of multiple councils, senates and courts. Because of this, there are several rooms in the palace that I visited which housed these government branches, all lavishly decorated with carved wood ceilings all plated with gold. These carvings formed borders around beautiful frescoes from the best of the best venetian artists: Tintoretto, Veronese, Tiepolo, Guariento just to name a few. The largest room in the palace was my favorite, its named the Higher Council Hall. On the wall coming in, is what is considered by many to be the largest oil painting in the world, Paradise by Tintoretto. It was absolutely magnificent along with the carved ceilings and other paintings that were in the room. In addition to the government chambers, is an armory, full of hundreds of thousands of weapons including swords, crossbows, early guns, even a cannon. And lastly was the 3-story prison attached to the palace by the bridge of sighs; which gets its name from the sounds the prisoners would make as they walked across it, getting one last glimpse of freedom through the single, small window on the bridge. This palace was really incredible and home bunch of history & breathtaking art, which made for the perfect ending in Venice.


Doge's Palace from Piazza San Marco

The Higher Council Hall
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