Venice is a city full of opulence, history, and beauty. The one of the most beautiful sites being St. Mark’s Square. Turning about in a circle, you are struck on all sides by Venetian architecture. The clash of Italian and Arabic influence are twined together to create these beautiful pieces of history. However, the most unique feature of the square is the Doge’s Palace. All over Italy you can see cathedrals, and museums but there is only one Doge’s Palace. If you aren’t familiar with this place, don’t worry. I will not only tell you why you should know about this place and why you should visit if you ever find yourself in Venice, but why is the Doge’s Palace important to the culture of Venice and Italy.
The Doge’s Palace was the seat of power in Venice. It was built to host many different functions of government and show the extravagance of their nation. The walls and hallways are lined with Italian artwork and statues. The artwork and statues are filled with symbols related to Christianity, and mythology from the European region. There is pops of gold and intricate detailed iron work laced between the pieces so your eyes cannot find an unappealing corner that doesn’t carry the venetian fineness.
The Palace is filled with rooms designed with a specific chamber in mind. Every court and chamber had their own special message box so work could be conducted fluidly. It was as if the entire government was run out of one building from the criminal justice system to law making. Funny fact, many of the chambers and courts created were meant to be temporary until a more permanent solution could be found. However, they ended up becoming a permanent fixture in the running of Venice. It is confusing to keep tract of which chamber does what when touring the looming hallways but I am sure that there was a method to the madness.
The Palace seems endless. Every turn seems to lead to another room full of marvelous cultural and historical artifacts from Venice. Medieval weaponry? Yes! Italian Renaissance Paintings? You betcha ya! And that is just scrapping the surface! It wasn’t until you crossed into the prison attached to the Doge’s Palace via the Bridge of Sighs that the rich features that scream Venice comes to a screeching halt. The stairways turn darker and narrower. It is almost like stepping onto a horror movie set but there is sunlight peeking between the crevices. If you were a criminal, the last sight you would see is the opulence of the chambers before the dismal decent into the prison to serve your sentence in dark cells with no measures of comfort.
This sharp contrast shows that despite the grand nature of Venice there was a darker side to it. Prisoners were not treated well and the rich were the few that got to enjoy the richness and splendor. Venice was a city for traders that brought influences from all over to their homes. These influences showed their prosperity and power across the world. Venice still holds a piece of wonderment for many still today. It is a city that transports you back to the height of Venice, and the Doge’s Palace is a true piece de resistance to this preservation of Venetian style.
So if you ever find yourself in Italy or more specifically in Venice, you need to plan a stop into the Doge’s Palace so that you can dive deep into the height and prosperity of Venice during the Italian Renaissance.