When I crossed the Bridge of Sighs over the Rio de Palazzo canal, and glanced through the stone lattice windows, I had comprehended why its name came to be. The Bridge of Sighs was not named after a romantic sentiment of gazing at the white limestone bridge, watching gondolas breeze by, and breathing a big sigh for its beauty. This bridge was named for the prisoners who would walk across the bridge from the Doge’s Palace (left) onto the prison cells (right), look out the lattice window, and sigh at their last glimpse of the beauty of Venice.
Sorry to break it to you my romantics out there! Now do not let that stop you from sighing over the beauty of the bridge while the gondolas pass underneath. It is a magnificent site.
The Doge’s Palace was the residence for the Doge of Venice, the chief magistrate who was the supreme authority of the city during the medieval and renaissance periods. The palace was constructed in 1340 in the Venetian Gothic style, and is considered a significant landmark to the city of Venice. Over the centuries the palace had been modified and extended, and became a museum in 1923. It is one of 11 museums that are run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
Visiting Doge’s Palace was essential to my travels to Italy, as I do focus on architecture, design, history as well castles and palaces of Europe. The Palace is both magnificent and intriguing from its history to its artistic details. The courtyard, the halls and chambers, the walk across the Bridge of Sighs into the prison cells gives one an understanding of the significance of Venice’s power and wealth during its earlier centuries.
History– For centuries the Doge’s Palace was where many of the most significant decisions for Venice took place. The palace had three roles: the residence of the Doge, the seat of government and the palace of justice. When the palace was initially constructed it was built as a fortress with four sighting towers and tall defensive walls. After a series of fires and reconstructions, the palace is what we see today.
Doge’s Palace in Venice was considered an expression of the Republic’s special relationship with its past Venetian citizens. The people of Venice considered their government a legitimate expression of the Venetian’s will, not by imposing its rule or divine right, as with most Italian medieval cities.
The stunning institutional chambers of Doge’s Palace clearly represent the wealth and power of the Venetians during the time of the Doge. The walls and ceilings of the halls and chambers are intricate masterpieces created by many of the greatest artists of their time: Tintoretto, Veronese, Pisanello, Giovanni Bellini, Carpaccio, and Titian .
The Hall of Great Council, the Golden Staircase and Sala del Collegio were my favorite rooms of the Palace. The grand murals, golden intricate moldings and detailed woodwork were remarkable, and must have been even more so during the medieval years of the Doge’s reign.
There is also an impressive collection of arms and ammunition inside the armory, within Doge’s Palace. There are more than 2000 piece of different ages and different backgrounds that belonged to the Council of 10. The armory was needed for soldiers who guarded the palace, the Doge and others who served the Government of the Republic.
The Bridge of Sighs was constructed from white limestone, and the flower lattice barred windows are made of stone. It was designed by Antonio Contion, whose uncle Antonio da Ponte, had designed the Rialto Bridge. It connects the New Prison and the interrogation rooms of the palace, and passes over the Rio de Palazzo canal. This is where the convicts were said to have sighed, while taking in their final view of magnificent Venice before being led down into their cells.
🎫 Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs in Venice are two of the city’s most visited attractions. They are located along the Grand Canal, and adjacent to Saint Mark Square. It is advisable to purchase your tickets prior to your visit, which is what I had done. By purchasing my ticket online, I skipped the queue, had earlier entrance, and beat the afternoon crowds.
For more information, please visit – Doge’s Palace Venice, Italy
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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