The second ramp (composed of two stairways in sequence) of the Scala d’Oro gives you main access. The main floor of the building is located in the north, between the Rio di Palazzo and the internal courtyard, the rooms reserved for the Doge and, to the south, between the internal courtyard and the pier, those destined for meetings and voting by the Maggior Consiglio. Other possibilities of access to the floor are the staircase that connects the second landing of the Scala d’Oro to the former Archaeological Museum and the Scala dei Censori, built in 1522.
In Venetian dialect liagò means a terrace or balcony enclosed by glass. This particular example was a sort of corridor and meeting-place for patrician members of the Great Council in the intervals between their discussions of government business. The ceiling of painted and gilded beams dates from mid 16th century, while the paintings on the walls are from the 17th and 18th century. The gallery also contains three important works of sculpture: Adam, Eve and The Shield-Bearer. These are the originals sculpted between 1462 and 1471 by Antonio Rizzo to adorn the façades of the Foscari Gateway in the courtyard of the palace.
The Chamber of Quarantia Civil Vecchia
The Council of Forty (Quarantia) seems to have been set up by the Great Council at the end of the 12th century and was the highest appeal court in the Republic. Originally a single forty-man council which wielded substantial political and legislative power, the Quarantia was during the course of the 15th century divided into 3 separate Councils: the Quarantia Criminal (for sentences in what we would call criminal law); the Quarantia Civil Vecchia (for civil actions within Venice) and the Quarantia Civil Nuovo (for civil actions within the Republic’s mainland territories). This room was restored in the 17th century; the fresco fragment to the right of the entrance is the only remnant of the original decor. The paintings hanging here date from the 17th century as well.
The Guariento Room
The second name is due to the fact that this room was once linked to the Armory by a staircase, and the second name to the fact that it now houses a fresco painted for the Hall of the Great Council by the Paduan artist Guariento around 1365. Almost completely destroyed in the 1577 fire, the remains of that fresco were, in 1903, rediscovered under the large canvas Il Paradiso which Tintoretto was commissioned to paint for the same wall. Guariento’s fresco, too, depicts Paradise. In the center there is an enthroned Virgin being crowned by Christ, while, to far left and right, are aedicule like those from a portico church façade, under which one can see the figures of the Annunciation: the Angel Gabriel on the left, and the Virgin Mary on the right. Angels playing musical instruments surround the central figures and the Evangelists are shown before the throne; saints, prophets and martyrs are depicted alongside in individual stalls with gothic tracery. The heat of the fire reduced the surviving fragments to a near monochrome, while in places where the plaster has fallen, one can see the red traces of the preliminary drawing. What we have now gives a scarcely adequate idea of what must have been a sumptuous work, glittering with color and gilding.
Chamber of the Great Council
Restructured in the 14th century, the Chamber was decorated with a fresco by Guariento and later with works by the most famous artists of the period, including Gentile da Fabriano, Pisanello, Alvise Vivarini, Carpaccio, Bellini, Pordenone and Titian. 53 meters long and 25 meters wide, this is not only the largest and most majestic chamber in the Doge’s Palace, but also one of the largest rooms in Europe. Here, meetings of the Great Council were held, the most important political body in the Republic. A very ancient institution, this Council was made up of all the male members of patrician Venetian families over 25 years old, irrespective of their individual status, merits or wealth. This was why, in spite of the restrictions in its powers that the Senate introduced over the centuries, the Great Council continued to be seen as bastion of republican equality. The Council had the right to call to account all the other authorities and bodies of the State when it seemed that their powers were getting excessive and needed to be trimmed. The 1,200 to 2,000 noblemen who sat in the Council always considered themselves guardians of the laws that were the basis of all the other authorities within the State. This room also housed the second phases in the election of a new Doge, which in the later stages would pass into the Sala dello Scrutinio. These voting procedures were extremely long and complex in order to frustrate any attempts of cheating. Every Sunday, when the bells of St. Mark’s rang, the Council members would gather in the hall with the Doge presiding at the center of the podium and his counselors occupying double rows of seats that ran the entire length of the room.
Soon after work on the new hall had been completed, the 1577 fire damaged not only this Chamber but also the Sala dello Scrutinio. The structural damage was soon restored, respecting the original layout, and all works were finished within few years, ending in 1579-80. The decoration of the restored structure involved artists such as Veronese, Jacopo and Domenico Tintoretto, and Palma il Giovane. The walls were decorated with episodes of the Venetian history, with particular reference to the city’s relations with the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, while the ceiling was decorated with the Virtues and individual examples of Venetian heroism, and a central panel containing an allegorical glorification of the Republic. Facing each other in groups of six, the twelve wall paintings depict acts of valor or incidents of war that had occurred during the city’s history. Immediately below the ceiling runs a frieze with portraits of the second 76 doges (the portraits of the others are to be found in the Sala dello Scrutinio); commissioned from Jacopo Tintoretto, most of these paintings are in fact the work of his son, Domenico. Each Doge holds a scroll bearing a reference to his most important achievements, while Doge Marin Faliero, who attempted a coup d’état in 1355, is represented simply by a black cloth (a traitor to the Republic, he was not only condemned to death but also to damnatio memoriae, the total eradication of his memory and name). One of the long walls, behind the Doge’s throne, is occupied by the longest canvas painting in the world, the Paradiso, which Jacopo Tintoretto and workshop produced between 1588 and 1592 to replace the Guariento fresco that had been damaged in the fire.
The Chamber of the Scrutinio
This immense room is in the wing of the Doge’s Palace built between the 1520s and 1540s during the dogate of Francesco Foscari (1423-57). It was initially intended to house the precious manuscripts left to the Republic by Petrarch and Bessarione (1468); indeed, it was originally known as the Library. In 1532, it was decided that the Chamber should also hold the electoral counting and/or deliberations that assiduously marked the rhythm of Venetian politics, based on an assembly system whose epicenter was the nearby Great Council Chamber. After the construction of Sansovino’s Library though, this room was used solely for elections, starting with the most important, that of the Doge. The present decorations date from between 1578 and 1615, after the 1577 fire. The rich ceiling was designed by the painter-cartographer Cristoforo Sorte. Episodes of military history in the various compartments glorify the exploits of the Venetians, with particular emphasis on the conquest of the maritime empire; the only exception being the last oval, recording the taking of Padua in 1405. The walls recount battles won between 809 and 1656. The painting on the eastern side showing The Battle of Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino, of 1571, is particularly evocative. It is framed by other battle scenes: the Venetian Victory over the Turks at the Dardanelles by Pietro Liberi, painted between 1660 and 1665, and the Venetian Victory over the Turks in Albania by Pietro Bellotti, of 1663. The western wall also retells military stories, including The Conquest of Tyre by Antonio Aliense, of 1590 ca. and the Venetian Naval Victory over the Egyptians at Jaffa, by Sante Peranda, painted between 1598 and 1605. The series of Doges portraits of the Chamber of the Great Council continues in the frieze beneath the ceiling, while the south wall is decorated with the Last Judgment by Jacopo Palma Giovane, painted between 1594 and 1595, ideally linked to the Il Paradiso next door. The room is closed to the north by a majestic triumphal arch by Andrea Tirali. This was erected in honor of Doge Francesco Morosini Peloponnesiaco, who died in 1694 during the war in Morea.
The Chamber of the Quarantia Criminale and the Cuoi Room
Housing one of the three Councils of Forty, the highest appeal courts in the Venetian Republic, this is another room used in the administration of justice. The Quarantia Criminal was set up in the 15th century and, as the name suggests, dealt with cases of criminal law. It was a very important body as its members, who were part of the Senate as well, also had legislative powers. The wooden stalls date from the 17th century. The room beyond this served as an archive, and was presumably lined with shelves and cupboards.
The Chamber of the Magistrato alle Leggi
This chamber housed the Magistratura dei Conservatori ed esecutori delle leggi e ordini degli uffici di San Marco e di Rialto. Created in 1553, this authority was headed by 3 of the city’s patricians and was responsible for making sure the regulations concerning the practice of law were observed. In a mercantile city such as Venice, the courts were of enormous importance. And the administration of justice in the city was made all the more special by the fact that it was not based on Imperial, Common or Roman law but on a legal system that was peculiar to Venice. This Chamber now houses the extraordinary Hieronymus Bosch triptych that Cardinal Domenic Grimani left to the Republic in 1523 – a work that for many years hung in the Chamber of the Three Heads of the Council of Ten (which today can only be visited as part of the Secret Itineraries Tour). The pictures have all the characteristic features of Bosch’s painting: painstaking rendition of details and landscapes; delight in anecdote; disturbing and mysterious symbols, and that playful satirical tone with which the artist denounces the folly of humanity and the demonic influence at work in human affairs. Dealing with such themes as temptation, sin, redemption, punishment and vices, Bosch’s work is one of the greatest expressions of the obsessive moral concerns behind that new mysticism which emerged as the Renaissance second began to make itself felt in the medieval world of Northern Europe – a period when culture was still heavily influenced by mystical yearnings, superstitions and moral severity.
It consists of a series of rooms intended for the prince, overlooking the Rio di Palazzo, and is accessed from the atrium at the end of the second flight of the Scala d’Oro, on the left. Currently, the premises are devoid of the original furniture because, being this property of the individual doges, was taken away by the heirs after the death of the housekeeper. However, the pictorial and plastic decoration of the ceilings remains, to which Pietro Lombardo also contributed.
The Sala degli Scarlatti was used as an antechamber to the ducal Councilors, whose color takes its name. These were magistrates charged with accompanying the doge in official ceremonies. At present the room appears rather bare because of the ancient decoration only preserves the carved ceiling, the work of Biagio and Pietro da Faenza, characterized by the presence of the emblem of Andrea Gritti. As for other rooms, this also has an impressive fireplace, originally from the early sixteenth century, made by Antonio and Tullio Lombardo and characterized by a coat of arms of the Barbarigoon the hood. Lombardesca is also the marble decoration below the entrance door, depicting the doge Leonardo Loredan in prayer; important works of this restaurant are the Resurrection of Giuseppe Salviati and the Madonna with child by Titian. At the Sala degli Scarlatti you can access through the long corridor once hosting the Archaeological Museum or through the Sala dello Scudo.
The Sala degli Scudieri, intended for the Doge’s squires. The stables were named by the doge and must always be available to him. They performed various functions, from antechamber services to bringing dog symbols to the parades and processions. Originally it was from this place that was accessed by the dog house. The room, bare-looking, stands out for the presence of two monumental portals dating back to the end of the fifteenth century: one enters the Sala dello Scudo, the other leads to the Scala d’Oro, at the height of the second landing.
The Sala dello Scudo, in which the reigning doge exhibited his own heraldic coat of arms and gave private audiences and banquets, constitutes a single with the Sala dei Filosofi, together with which he reconstructs the typical T shape of the rooms representing the old Venetian residences. Given the function of receiving the hall, the large decoration with maps, created for the second time in the sixteenth century, after the fire of 1483, was designed to underline the illustrious and glorious tradition on which the power of the state rests. The editors of this decorative work were Giovan Battista Ramusio, Giovanni Domenico Zorzi and Giacomo Gastaldi, which respectively produced maps of the Mediterranean, Asia Minor, the Eastern Mediterranean and Marco Polo’s Travels. It was then reorganized in 1762 by Francesco Griselini who enriched it with the paintings of the most famous Venetian explorers, commissioned by Marco Foscarini: Nicolò and Antonio Zen, Pietro Querini and Alvise da Mosto. The two revolving globes in the center of the room are coeval, representing the celestial vault and the Earth. On the wall above the door is the fresco by Tiziano withSan Cristoforo. The sign on display is that of Doge Ludovico Manin.
The long and narrow Sala dei Filosofi, a sort of corridor overlooked by other rooms, owes its name to twelve paintings with ancient philosophers made by Paolo Veronese and other artists in the second half of the sixteenth century for the Marciana Library room, which were transferred here, on the initiative of the Doge Marco Foscarini (1762-1763) and remained there until 1929, replaced by allegorical figures now arranged on the walls. On the left wall, note a small door that, located at the base of a staircase leading to the upper floor, allowed the doge to reach the rooms where the Senate and the College were operating without leaving their apartment.
The Sala Grimani, the Sala Erizzo and the Sala Priuli, intended for the private life of the Doge and with access to a hanging garden. These are premises facing the central courtyard, lined up along the Sala dei Filosofi which then serves as portego.
The Sala Grimani takes its name from the Grimani emblem, depicted in the center of the ceiling. This powerful family gave three doges to the Republic: Antonio (1521 – 1523), Marino (1595 – 1605) and Pietro (1741 – 1752). On the walls were collected important paintings depicting the Lion of St. Mark, one of Jacobello del Fiore (1415), one of Donato Veneziano (1495) and the famous lion of Vittore Carpaccio(1516) with the front legs on the ground and the hind ones on the waves to symbolize the dominion of the Republic on earth and on the seas. Under the ceiling, there is an allegorical frieze on the themes of San Marco with Leo, Geography, Agriculture, Law, Architecture, Venice in a feminine figure, Astronomy, Reward, Virgin, attributed to Andrea Vicentino. The carved ceiling dates back to the baron of Marco Barbarigo and Agostino Barbarigo, that is to the period between 1485 and 1501: the emblem of this family is located on the Lombard chimney.
Sala Erizzo presents the emblem of Francesco Erizzo on the mighty fireplace, dating back to the end of the fifteenth century. The coat of arms, flanked by Venus and Vulcan, was applied to the fireplace only at a later time. The ceiling has golden carvings on a light blue background. An allegorical frieze, marked by the presence of putti and symbols of war, highlights the military ability of the doge.
On the other hand, the Priuli Room presents the coat of arms of Lorenzo Priuli on the fireplace with allegorical figures; it is also distinguished by the stucco caryatids decoration that distinguishes the vault: it is also known as Sala degli Stucchi. This decorative work goes back to the slate of Marino Grimani. Pietro Grimani instead commissioned the wall stuccoes and he made the frames for the paintings here once exhibited, illustrating episodes of the life of Christ and a portrait of Henry III of France, attributed to Jacopo Tintoretto. Following the fires of 1574 and 1577 it was necessary to provide for the new decoration. In the seventeenth century, when the apartment was enlarged, the Sala degli Stucchi was connected to the Canonica di San Marco. This link was demolished in the nineteenth century.
The Sala delle Volte, the Sala dell’Udienza and the dell’Antiudienza were secondary rooms. The Sala delle Volte was probably used as a private room for the doge. The Sala dell’Udienza was decorated with a Carrara marble fireplace, carved with decorations depicting putti on dolphins and in the center the lion marciano, and a wooden frieze: both works date back to the end of the fifteenth century. The function of the Sala dell’Antiudienza is not exactly known and from this we can deduce that this room, decorated with a magnificent fireplace, changed its use several times.
The judicial circles of the second noble floor
On the opposite side of the ducal apartments were a series of spaces dedicated to the administration of justice.
Sala del Magistrato at the Laws or Sala Bosch, for the three Conservatories and executors of the laws and orders of the offices of San Marco and Rialto of patrician origin, belonging to a magistracy created in 1553, responsible for enforcing the regulations governing the advocacy. The hall owes its second name to the presence of triptychs made by Hieronymus Bosch, given in inheritance to the Serenissima in 1523 by Cardinal Domenico Grimani: initially they were in the Hall of the Three Heads of the Council of Ten. The triptychs are called with the names of Trittico degli eremiti (dating back to 1505) and Triptych of Santa Giuliana. Opposite, a surrealistic Hell attributed to the Monogrammist JS and a mocked Christ by Quentin Metsys. In the hall were also four tables, known as the collective name of Four visions of the Afterlife, also by Bosch. The arguments of the tables (transferred from 2008 to Palazzo Grimani, are the Fall of the Damned, Hell, the Earthly Paradise and the Ascent of the Blessed in the Empyrean.
Sala della Quarantia Criminal, intended for criminal justice and the superintendency of finance and money.
Sala dei Cuoi, with its leather decorations on the walls, was the archive of Quarantia.
Hall of Forty Civil Vecchia, destined to civil justice of the Venetian territory and maritime domain. It is one of the oldest rooms of the building, as reported by the presence of a gothic mullioned window on the back wall; nevertheless, its appearance is characterized by the presence of numerous paintings dating back to the seventeenth century.
Sala dell’Armamento or Sala del Guariento, connected to the overlying Armeria, had the function of receiving a deposit of arms and ammunition, and was initially connected to the rooms of Arms and the Council of Ten. Presently there are the remains of a fresco by Guariento di Arpo depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, but it was notably damaged in the fire of 1577. There is also preserved one of the sketches (oil on canvas) of Jacopo ‘s Paradise Tintoretto, the large canvas that replaced Guariento’s fresco after the fire of 1577 that destroyed the Sala del Maggior Consiglio.
This series of rooms on one side were connected to Liagò, that is the porch used for the noble strolls during the pauses in the seats of the adjacent Maggior Consiglio, while on the other they were connected to the overlying and underlying judicial rooms on the second floor and the floor. of the lodges.
Palazzo Ducale di Venezia
The Doge’s Palace (Italian: Palazzo Ducale) is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
The history of the Doge ‘s Palace in Venice begins in the Middle Ages and continues with numerous extensions, renovations and demolitions aimed at adapting the building to the new needs of the city and in particular the need to give a seat to those governing bodies that, by increasing their number, they began to support the doge in the administration, depriving him of some powers and decreasing the spaces at his disposal.
In 810, after Venice had become the capital of the Serenissima taking the place of Heraclea and Metamaucum, the seat of the doge was built there, probably in the form of a fortified and turreted building, soon flanked by a basilica.
The complex remained essentially unchanged in its appearance until the twelfth century, when, with the dogato of Sebastiano Ziani, an era was inaugurated characterized by numerous renovations, which involved all three wings. In the southern, western and eastern wings the works started before 1340, 1424 and 1483 respectively, in the latter case as a result of a fire which would be followed by two others, which would have led to the destruction of many works of art, promptly replaced thanks to the work of the main Venetian masters. Built the New Prisons and renovated the ground floor between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Palazzo was no longer the subject of important works, but rather the victim of damage that led to the removal of numerous works of art.
With the annexation of Venice to the Kingdom of Italy, the building passed under the jurisdiction of the latter and became a museum, a function that continues to perform by hosting the headquarters of the Civic Museum of Palazzo Ducale, part of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice (MUVE) and in 2012 visited by 1 319 527 people.