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Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is located in Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square) is the heart of Venice right next door to the Basilica.
Until 1797, the Doges ruled the Venetian Empire and the Palazzo Ducale was where they ruled from.
A Venetian Gothic fantasy palace, it was one of the first things those arriving in Venice saw as their ships sailed through the lagoon and landed at Saint Mark's Square.
The Doges lived here and the government offices were also in this building. Justice was meted out here and the Golden Book, listing all the important families of Venice, was housed here.
No one whose family was not in the Golden Book would ever be made a Doge.
Inside the palace is wonderful art (paintings by Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese), majestic staircases, the Doge's apartments, the government chambers, the prison cells and the Bridge of Sighs.
Outside, along the piazzetta, each column is different. Between the ninth and tenth column death sentences were declared and executions carried out.
Tickets for Doge's Palace are available as part of a combined package for the St Mark's Square Museums, including Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.
The ticket is valid for three months with one one single admission to the Doge’s Palace and each entrance respectively.
Reduced tickets are available for children and students (see website below for details).
• A range of ickets available including fast track • Add on St Mark's Palace, Museum, gondola tours, etc • Small group options available
The Grand Canal is 3.8km (2.4 miles) in length and travels in an S shape between the two islands Venice is built upon.
The Grand Canal links the entry point to Venice for most (Santa Lucia Railway Station and Piazzale Roma) and St Mark's Square where it spills out onto the open ocean.
Nearly everybody arrives in Venice along the causeway from mainland Italy and are deposited by the bus or rail station which are next to each other.
Your options are either to walk or to get the Venice water bus down the Grand Canal to Mark's Square.
The following few paragraphs outline the main walking route.
• Skip-the-line entry to Doge's Palace • Entry into St Marks Basilica • Gondola ride • Profesisonal art historian guide • Small group tour
• Skip-the-line entry to Doge's Palace • Skip-the-line entry to St Marks Basilica • Round Trip Transportation to/from Murano & Burano Island • Professional guide • Glass blowing and lace making demonstrations • 30-min gondola ride • Small group tour
The Venice Gondola is perhaps one of the instant images most people have when Venice is mentioned.
Although you will come across gondolas all over Venice, at least the parts frequented by tourists, the most popular base by far for gondola departures, is the waterfront at St Mark's Square.
Up to six people can share a gondola. The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, typically a rate for 40 minutes, then additional increments of 20 minutes. Seek out the official rates by all means, but don't expect the actual price to be exactly the same rate in your head - make sure you have an agreement on price before you depart. In the evening rates may climb.
From the busy gondola stops by St Mark's most gondolas will follow the same route in a circuit behind St Mark's Square along the narrow canals there. At busy periods the route can have the water equivalent of traffic congestion, (see image).
|St Mark's Square, Basilica & Doge's Palace Tours|
Orientation of St Mark's Square plus tour of Basilica
See the best of Doge's Palace
See the best of Doge's Palace + St Mark's Basilica
2 Hour Walking Tour of 'hidden Venice' + St Marks with skip the line basilica tour
|Best Of Venice Tours|
A selection of gondola ride opportunities in Venice
Tour the outer islands of Venice by boat
|Venice Shore Excursions From Cruise Ships Docked|
A choice of Venice tours independent of the pricey ship offerings