Museum Palazzo Ducale is located in Doge’s Palace in Venice. This breathtaking palace testifies to the wealth and importance of the Venetian Republic, especially through its beautiful architecture and enormous fresco-painted institutional rooms that fascinate most visitors.
Museum Palazzo Ducale is located in one of the most important buildings in Venice, Doge’s Palace (Doge- elected leader of Venetian Republic). This palace was the seat of power for almost the whole period of the existence of the Venetian Republic.
It is where different councils met in order to decide the faith of the republic. It was also the seat of the legislative power, where courts delivered verdicts deciding the destiny of individual people, but it was also where Doges of Venice actually lived in separate chambers.
Even though it is assumed that the first palace in this area was built in the 9th century, no actual traces were ever found. The oldest section of the palace is the one facing the Venetian lagoon, the construction of which started in 1340. Nowadays, Doge’s palace consists of three sections: the oldest on facing the lagoon, the wing towards San Marko square and the canal-side wing, opposite to Piazza San Marko. The wing facing San Marco square was built in 1424, while the canal-side wing that hosted Doge’s apartment and beautiful council chambers was finished during the Renaissance period, between 1483 and 1565.
When one enters the museum through Porta del Frumento (Grain Gate) the first thing he or she will notice is a large beautiful square in the interior of the complex. This square is surrounded by different wings of Doge’s palace on three sides, while on the forth side it is facing famous Basilica of San Marko. The reason for this is that Basilica of San Marko was used for centuries as Doge’s private chapel and was not open to public.
Tour of the Doge’s Palace Museum in Venice
On the ground floor, visitors can admire the Giants’ Staircase as well as Porta della Carta. Both the gate and the staircase were once used as formal entrances, while today Porta della Carta gate is the exit of the museum. Also, on the ground floor there are six exhibition rooms that host the columns and decorations from different time periods that once decorated the façade of the palace.
On the first floor, the main attraction of Doge’s palace is placed - beautifully painted institutional rooms of the Venetian Republic. Among numerous beautifully decorated rooms probably The Chamber of the Great Council and The Chamber of the Scrutinio are the most famous rooms. The Chamber of the Great Council was reconstructed in the 14th century and later decorated by famous artists. This colossal room (53x25 meters) is not only the largest room in Doge’s Place, but it is also one of the largest rooms in Europe. Here, the Great Council meetings were held, which incredibly consisted of all male members (between 1200 and 2000 individuals) older than 25 and from noble families, irrespective of their status or wealth.
On the other hand, The Chamber of the Scrutinio was at first intended as a library that kept important manuscripts. After the construction of Sansovino’s Library (Marciana Library) it was used exclusively for different elections, including the elections for the Doge of Venice.
On the first floor there is also the section of the palace that hosted Doge’s apartment. These were private chambers where the ruling Doge together with his family resided. Nowadays, in this section of the palace temporary exhibitions are held, which means that this section cannot be visited with a standard ticket.
On the second floor, there is the armory that consists of four exhibition rooms in which visitors may enjoy a large collection of arms from different historical periods. The collection consists of suits of armor, swords, halberds, early firearms as well as Turkish arms confiscated during different battles between the Turks and the Venetians.
Another interesting attraction of the palace is certainly the prison. The prison is connected to the palace with the Bridge of Sighs, the name of which is supposed to refer to the sighs of prisoners that would see from the bridge the Venetian lagoon for the last time. Visitors may see the original cells and the conditions in which prisoners served their sentences.
Ticket prices for the Doge’s Palace Museum in Venice
This ticket is actually the cumulative ticket for several museums around Piazza San Marco: Palazzo Ducale, Museum Correr, National Archeological Museum and Marciana Library.
Regular ticket price is 19 Euros (€) (≈19,6$).
Reduced ticket price is 11 Euros (€) (≈12$).
We advise you to check the prices and possible cumulative passes on the official webpage of Palazzo Ducale before you decide to visit this museum.
Working hours of the Doge’s Palace Museum in Venice
From April 1 to October 31 working hours are: 08:30-19:00h.
From November 1 to March 31 working hours are: 08:30-17:30h.
Last entrance one hour before closing time in both cases.
Museum is closed: January 1, December 25.