November 15, 2011

0 Venice Trip: Palazzo dei Dogi

The Palazzo dei Dogi (Doge's Palace) is the former seat of the Venetian government.  Constructed mostly in the 14th century, it has acted as the government seat, the Doge's apartments, the courts, and a prison.  With our Rolling Venice pass we were able to get a special tour of some extra rooms not included on the main tour.

A detail of the column on the corner of the lagoon-side and canal-side.

The Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners walked from the courts to the prison, and often to their hanging.

The original columns are now protected inside while copies decorate the exterior.  

Each column is decorated with different figures- this one is animals and their food/prey.  I liked the leopard and honeycomb!

The courtyard of the Palazzo.

The Basilica's attachment to the Palazzo.

The Giants' Staircase, so called because of the large statues that flank it, leads to the main floor of the Palazzo.

The Doge's Gondola.

16th century well head.

These faces were scattered around the Palace during its pre-Napoleonic days.  The mouths served as post boxes for tips and tattles.  Anyone could drop a note into the specified slot- this one was for tax evasion, others were for theft, murder, libel, etc- and the courts would investigate the claim.  When Napoleon took over the State he had them torn down- this one was originally in the space to the left- but some weren't damaged and were saved, like this one.

Atlas and Hercules(?) flank the bottom of the golden staircase.

The ceilings of the golden staircase. 

A window overlooking the canal from the golden staircase.  Photography ended here on our tour, but we went on to see The Council of Ten's rooms, the Grand Chancellor's office where all the important papers of State were stored, and, amongst many other rooms, Casanova's prison cell and escape route!!

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