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Palazzo Ducale

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites
Palazzo Ducale
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/John V. Palazzo Ducale

Time Out says

This was a place of outrageous opulence and unspeakable horror, depending on whether you were a guest at dinner or a prisoner in the dungeon.

The Doge’s Palace was for centuries the seat of government for the Republic of Venice, and home to the sitting Doge, the elected ruler of the Republic. The doges lived like kings here, and the jaw-dropping ornamentation and grand scale on display here was meant to impress and intimidate. Tour the Doge’s private apartments, then consider the fate of prisoners sent to the palace’s damp, dark prison cells, most of them with a one-way ticket across the famous “Bridge of Sighs”—so named for the sound the condemned made when they caught their last glimpse of Venice from the bridge. 

Time Out tip: Book ahead for the Secret Itineraries Tour, a guided tour through the secret passageways and normally off-limit areas of the palace, bookable through the official website.

San Zaccaria Church: For its Bellini altarpiece and moody flooded crypt
Met Restaurant: For innovative cuisine in an antiques-filled dining room
Riva degli Schiavoni: For Venice’s most-photographed piece of waterfront


Address: San Marco 1

Opening hours: Daily 8:30am-5:30pm (to 7pm in summer)
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