Third floor, Doge’s Palace

The third floor, started from the Scala d’Oro, which ends in the so-called Square Atrium, overlooking the courtyard of the building. Between the Scala d’Oro and the pier there are some rooms dedicated to the Council of Ten, which has its headquarters here, the Tre Capi room and the Armeria. Between the Golden staircase and the Basilica of San Marco, after the Hall of the Four Doors, there are rooms dedicated to the Senate and the College.

The Square Atrium
The room served largely as a waiting room, the antechamber to various halls. The decoration dates from the 16th century, during the period of Doge Girolamo Priùli, who appears in Tintoretto’s ceiling painting with the symbols of his office, accompanied by allegories of Justice and Peace. The four corner scenes, probably by Tintoretto’s workshop, comprise biblical stories – perhaps an allusion to the virtues of the Doge – and allegories of the four seasons. The celebratory decor of the room was completed by four paintings of mythological scenes, which now hang in the antechamber to the Hall of the Full Council. Their place here has been taken by Girolamo Bassano’s The Angel appearing to the Shepherds and other biblical scenes that are, with reservations, attributed to Veronese.

Hall of the Four Doors
This room was the formal antechamber to the more important rooms in the palace, and the doors which give it its name are ornately framed in precious eastern marbles; each is surmounted by an allegorical sculptural group that refers to the virtues which should inspire those who took on the government responsibilities. The 1574 fire in this area damaged this room and those immediately after severely, but fortunately with no structural damage. The present decor is a work by Antonio da Ponte and design by Andrea Palladio and Antonio Rusconi. The coffered ceiling – with stucco decoration by Giovanni Cambi, known as Bombarda – contains frescoes of mythological subjects and of the cities and regions under Venetian dominion. Painted by Jacopo Tintoretto from 1578 onwards, this decorative scheme was designed to show a close link between Venice’s foundation, its independence, and the historical mission of the Venetian aristocracy – a program of self-celebration that could already be seen in the Golden Staircase. Amongst the paintings on the walls, one that stands out is Titian’s portrait of Doge Antonio Grimani (1521-1523) kneeling before Faith. On the easel stands a famous work by Tiepolo; painted between 1756 and 1758, it shows Venice receiving the gifts of the sea from Neptune.

The salient elements of this room are its development throughout the depth of the building, which determines the presence of polyphores both on the side facing the courtyard and on the one overlooking the Rio di Palazzo, and the presence of four monumental gates leading to the Anticollegio, the Salotto Quadrato, the Sala del Consiglio dei Ten and the Sala del Senato. The grandiose veined marble portals consist of Corinthian columns supporting a regent architrave, each of them, three allegorical statues. The most valuable, on the Anticollegio portal, are by Alessandro Vittoria. The ceiling, barrel vaulted according to a project by Palladio executed by Giovanni Cambi, known as il Bombarda, is decorated with sumptuous white and gilded stuccos, realized by Giovanni Cambi, which frame the frescoes of Tintoretto but also contributing to the decoration itself. The stuccos are so valuable that sometimes this room is known as Sala degli Stucchi. The project of the frescoes is attributed to Francesco Sansovino. The walls are entirely covered with paintings with historical or allegorical subjects of which Venice is the protagonist. The most famous of the works is The Doge Antonio Grimani in adoration before the Faith painted by Tiziano around 1575. It dates back to 1745 Venice receives from Neptune the gifts of the sea, by Giambattista Tiepolo, originally placed on the ceiling and now exposed on a stand in front at the windows so you can appreciate the colors.Henry III king of France arrives in Venice welcomed by the doge Alvise Mocenigo and the patriarch is instead a work of Andrea Vicentino, executed between 1595 and 1600, which, although not excelling under the artistic profile, commemorates the initiatives undertaken by the Serenissima for celebrate the arrival of the monarch.

In the same room, the wall painting of the Nuremberg ambassadors deserving mention of the Venetian laws as a rule of their government, the work of the brothers Carlo and Gabriele Caliari deserves mention.

The copy of the laws was granted by Doge Loredano between 1506 and 1508, with the approval of the local Senate, who then commissioned two works of art in order to pass on to posterity the memory of a fact that showed what respect and reverence they had for their laws [Venetian] also other nations, completely ignored by the authors who report the events against Confederate weapons in Cambrais.

A first version was painted in chiaroscuro by Andrea Vicentino in the mezzanine of the Sala del Consiglio Maggiore, describing a Senator whilebrief manu delivers a copy of the code to the four ambassadors. Later, the brothers Carlo and Gabriele Caliari, shortly after the death of their father and master Paolo, painted the same scene in color, in its historical setting of the Sala del Consiglio Maggiore: the doge on the throne, next to the councilors, one of whom he delivered the precious book to one of the four confirmed.

The four legates of Nuremberg were patricians of the city, depicted in the two paintings of the Doge’s Palace while wearing sumptuous robes of the country of origin. The Doge delivers 12 sheets of parchment illustrated and in Latin which present the Venetian civil law living at the time.
The fact was confirmed by Giustiniani, Pietro, Limneo on testimony of Scotti, Doglioni, and various historians Alemanni.

In 1863, the original delivered to the legates was kept in the Curia Tutoria of Nuremberg, and a third copy was present in Venice. Nuremberg had many institutions of Roman law, and then changed to adopt the public institutions of Venice.

Sala dell’Anticollegio
From the Sala delle Quattro Porte it was also possible to enter the Sala dell’Anticollegio, also communicating with the Collegio, where among the works of Veronese, Tintoretto and Alessandro Vittoria the delegations waited to be received by the Signoria of Venice. This place was therefore the anteroom of honor that preceded the residence hall of the Signoria. The decoration of this room is also the result of the reconstruction after the fire of 1574, on designs by Palladio and Giovanni Antonio Rusconi, although the works were completed by the Proto Antonio Da Ponte.

The vault is covered by rich stuccos that contain frescoes by Paolo Veronese, unfortunately worn out. In the octagon in the center, in the bright colors of the Veronese, Venice is depicted in the act of conferring honors and rewards, while the monochrome ovals are now hardly readable. The canvases on the walls are of considerable beauty, the work of the greatest authors of the third half of the century in Venice. Once the walls were covered with gold leathers.

Among the works on the walls, by Tintoretto are the four mythological paintings on the sides of the doors, initially intended for the front Hall of the Four Doors and built in the year 1576: Three Graces and Mercury, Arianna, Venus and Bacchus, La Pace, Concordia and Minerva that drives away Mars, Fucina di Vulcano. This cycle, whose canvases are symmetrically arranged in stucco frames, based on a very complex iconographic program, is one of the major works of the painter in the mythological and allegorical field. The figures, whose background is the various seasons of the year, allude to moments of prosperity and harmony and simultaneously to the four primordial elements: earth, water, air and fire. In front of the windows there are the Rape of Europa del Veronese (work done in 1580 that will inspire with its slight melancholy the eighteenth-century Venetian painters) and the Return of Jacob by Jacopo Bassano (contemporary to the previous and characterized from an extraordinary realism). The imposing white marble fireplace, which shows a frieze and a tooth of clear Palladian inspiration and is located along the wall in which the windows open, is supported by two telamons, attributed to Girolamo Campagna, surmounted by a bas-relief representing Venus that he asks for weapons at Vulcan by Tiziano Aspetti. On the portal there is a sculptural group consisting of three figures, all by Alessandro Vittoria, depicting Venice between the Concordia and the Gloria.

Hall of the College
The Sala del Collegio, communicating both with the Anticollegio and with the Sala del Senato, was destined for the meetings of the Collegio dei Savi and the Serenissima Signoria, distinct but interconnected organs that, when they gathered together, constituted the so-called “Pien” College”. Here foreign ambassadors were received, and it was therefore necessary that the hall be particularly sumptuous. Realized on a project by Palladio and Giovanni Antonio Rusconi, but built under the supervision of Antonio Da Ponte, it bears on the right wall one of the two dials of the clock that the hall has in common with the adjacent Senate hall, and paintings by Tintoretto, located on the walls and executed between 1581 and 1584 and of the Veronese, which make up the ceiling and among which there is a representation of the Battle of Lepanto. Among the works of Tintoretto we remember the painting depicting the Mystic Wedding of Santa Caterina, assisted by Doge Francesco Donà surrounded by Prudence, Temperance, Eloquence and Charity, characterized, like the others, by the additional difficulty of having to conjugate a votive episode with the dogale portrait, which will however produce incredible results in terms of solutions aimed at breaking the effect of monotony and repetitiveness.

The ceiling, among the most beautiful of the building, is one of the most famous masterpieces of Paolo Veronese, to whom we owe the eleven paintings that decorate it, with wooden decorations by Francesco Bello and Andrea da Faenza. Also of these two artists, who worked under the project of Palladio, is also the court with the central doghouse with a rich trabeation. Faith and Religion are represented in the oval in the center; the Faith, with white and gold garments, shows the chalice, while below it is represented an ancient sacrifice with priests who burn incense and are preparing to immolate the lamb. Also in the center are Mars and Neptunewith, in the background, the bell tower and the lion of San Marco, and Venice enthroned between Justice and Peace (work also known as Venice welcomes Justice and Peace, performed between 1575 and 1577 and distinguished by an extraordinary realism is from the interesting perspective solution offered by the presence of a semicircular staircase). The other eight “T” and “L” canvases, characterized by an exceptional chromatism, contain feminine personifications of the virtues that can be identified through the attributes that accompany them: a dog for loyalty, a lamb for the meekness, the ermine of purity, a nut and a crown for reward, an eagle for moderation, the spider web of dialectics, a crane for vigilance and a cornucopia for prosperity.

Above the benches for the Doge and the six wise men, also by Veronese is the votive portrait of the doge Sebastiano Venier, where the doge is shown kneeling to give thanks to the Redeemer for the victory of Lepanto, painted in the background. It is a work aimed at celebrating the deeds of Sebastiano Venier and of the administrator Agostino Barbarigo, in which there are also the figures of saints Mauro and Giustina and allegories of the Faith and of Venice. Along the wall that houses the windows is a huge fireplace, designed by Girolamo Campagna who made the side statues, depicting Hercules and Mercury.

Senate Hall
From the Hall of the Four Doors you access this environment, also communicating with the College, overlooking the Rio Palace and intended for meetings of the Council of Pregadi (or Senate), deputy to the government of the Republic. The hall still maintains its old name: it was also called the Pregati because its members were “asked”, by means of a written invitation, to participate in Council meetings. More precisely, the senators were elected by the Maggior Consiglio among the patricians who had distinguished themselves in battle or in the administration of the Republic. Devastated by a fire in 1574, which caused the loss of the previous decoration made by Carpaccio, Giorgione and Titian, its reconstruction was entrusted to Antonio Da Ponte and its decoration to other important masters, among which the Tintoretto, flanked by his workshop, played a very important role.

Rich and solemn, with splendid inlays and gilding, the room houses works by Tintoretto and Jacopo Palma il Giovane, immersed in the luminous gilding of which the environment abounds. The pictorial cycles that enrich the walls were made between 1585 and 1595 during the Pasquale Cicogna dogate. The same doge was represented in two works, one placed along the walls and one part of the ceiling decoration. On the wall facing the windows you can see the two large clocks, one of which shows signs of the zodiac. The clock that marked the hours turned counterclockwise, like all the watches made at that time and are indicated all hours of the day both morning and afternoon starting at the apex with 6 am because according to the medieval the day began to that hour, when the sun was born.

As for the decoration of the walls, it was made for celebratory purposes. Above the seats of the senators, rebuilt during the eighteenth century, and above the court there is a cycle that illustrates the works of some doges. Among these stands the Dead Christ adored by the Doges Pietro Lando and Marcantonio Trevisan, made by Tintoretto. The other walls present themes related to allegories and their decorations were mainly made by Palma il Giovane, who was however helped in the work by artists such as Domenico Tiepolo, Marco Vecellio and Tintoretto himself. Another important work of Palma il Giovane present in the hall is the Allegory of Victory on the League of Cambrai, built around the year 1590 and aimed at celebrating the war between Venice and the other European powers, coalizzatelesi against her by the League of Cambrai: the protagonist of the canvas is the doge Leonardo Loredan.

They are present as ceiling decorations, completed in 1581 and designed by Cristoforo Sorte, massive gilded wood frames that frame works by Tintoretto, Marco Vecellio, Andrea Vicentino, Antonio Vassilacchi, Tommaso Dolabella, Palma the Younger and Gerolamo Gambarato. The gilded wooden frame can be said to consist of the union of scrolls, scrolls and festoons. At the center stands the large rectangular canvas painted by Tintoretto with the help of his son, Domenico, with Venice assisposed among the gods. It represents the Triumph of Veniceas a growing vortex of mythological creatures of marine origin, rising towards Venice, sitting at the center, to offer gifts and acknowledgments. Among the council of gods surrounding the Serenissima dressed in regal clothes, we can recognize Apollo, Mercury, Cronus, Mars and Vulcan.

Small church and ancient house
An anticiesetta is connected to the Sala del Senato, noteworthy for its decoration consisting of stuccos and neoclassical frescoes, created by Jacopo Guarana. From this place was accessed by the private church of the Senate, used only by senators and doge, renovated by Vincenzo Scamozzi in 1593. The decorative apparatus of this palatine chapel was built for the frescoes by Jacopo Guarana, while for the architectural decorations by Gerolamo Mengozzi-Colonna and his son Agostino. On the altar stands a beautiful sculptural group created by Jacopo Sansovino, depicting the Virgin with the Putto and Angels.

Hall of the Council of Ten
The Hall of the Council of Ten was destined to the meeting of the homonymous organ, restricted and omnipotent, deputy to the security of the State. Supreme magistracy of the State, on whose ruthless methods has often been written but not always impartially, was established in 1319 as a temporary body to which to entrust investigations related to the conspiracy Baiamonte Tiepolo, but then became a permanent magistrature, composed of ten councilors and enlarged to the Doge and to the six Ducal Councilors; the council of the Ten took its place on a semicircular wooden podium from which it discussed the investigations and trials against the enemies of the state: a secret passage carved out of a wooden wardrobe led to the back room of the Three Heads.

Nothing remains of the original furniture. The decorations are by Giambattista Ponchino, Paolo Veronese and Giovanni Battista Zelotti, with themes concerning justice. The ceiling of the room, imaginatively attributed to Daniele Barbaro, was painted in the fifties of the sixteenth century and is the debut work of Paolo Veronese in the Venetian scene. More precisely, the Veronese is the author of three of the paintings currently present among the nine that make up the ceiling. It was painted by the twenty-six year old painter, from Verona as a helper of the little-known Gian Battista Ponchino, from Zelotti and fromJacopo D’Andrea. The oval in the center, with Jupiter striking the vices, is a copy of the original Veronese confiscated by Napoleon and now exhibited at the Louvre. On the other hand, the box with Giunone was returned, again from Veronese, with the ducal horn, gems and gold in Venice, from the daring prospective glimpse. Under the ceiling there is a valuable frieze depicting Putti, weapons and trophies. The walls below this decorations were made by Andrea Vassilachi, Bassano and Marco Vecellio. The Venice painting on the globe and on the lion, realized between 1553 and 1564, is one of the allegories in the room: the work of Zelotti, highlights how the paintings of the latter, while being comparable to lights and colors to those of the Veronese, differed from the works of this as the latter appear less cumbersome and more natural.

Sala della Bussola
Next to this room was the Sala della Bussola, which served as an anteroom for those who had been summoned by the powerful magistrates, which owes its name to the large wooden compass that leads into adjoining judicial circles and is surmounted by a statue of Justice. Its allegorical decoration was completed in 1554 by Paolo Veronese. Also in this room, the painting in the center of the ceiling, a masterpiece by Paolo Veronese depicting Saint Mark, was removed by the French in 1797 and is kept in the Louvre. The monumental fireplace is designed by Sansovino, while the paintings on the walls celebrate the victories of Carmagnola. The walls are distinguished by the presence of wooden panels.

Other judicial circles of the third noble floor
Those who were summoned to the nearby judicial circles passed from the compass in the hall of which it is eponymous.

The Chamber of the Three Heads of the Council of Ten, with works by Tintoretto, Veronese, Giambattista Ponchino and Giambattista Zelotti, where they gathered the leaders elected to rotate every month from this council, which was responsible for the instruction of the trials. Their task was to open letters and to convene extraordinary meetings of the Great Council; The decoration of the ceiling was made between 1553 and 1554: the central octagon representing the Victory of Virtue on Vice, a work by Zelotti. The Veronese and Ponchino devoted themselves mostly to decorating the side sectors. From this room you can access the Hall of the Council of Ten through a secret passage hidden by a wooden cabinet.

The Room of the Three Inquisitors of State, with paintings by Tintoretto made between 1566 and 1567, where the powerful and feared magistrates were located responsible for ensuring the safety of the Secret by any means and at their complete discretion, chosen between the Council of Ten and Councilors of the Doge. This magistracy was created in 1539 and became known as it was authorized to learn about the information by any means, including delation and torture.

The Chamber of Torment, torture room directly connected to the overhanging Piombi, where interrogations were conducted in the presence of judges magistrates. Despite everything, torture began to be abandoned in the seventeenth century.

Palace Armory
The palace armory, a complex of rooms used as storage for Palazzo’s armigers, consisted of four rooms and there are about 2000 prestigious pieces. It is the corner between the facade towards the Rio di Palazzo and the one on the Molo.

Room I or Sala del Gattamelata: this is the name given to the fine armor belonging to Gattamelata, the nickname of Erasmo da Narni. In this room there are also other sixteenth-century armor, some as infantryman, some as knight and others as tournaments. In particular, we note a child’s armor or perhaps a dwarf, found after the battle of Marignano. In the hall are also exposed arches, crossbows, lanterns from ships of Turkish origin.

Room II or Hall of the King of France: characterized by the presence of a Turkish standard, loot of the battle of Lepanto and finely decorated, the room also has an armature belonging to Henry IV of France, donated to the Serenissima or in 1603 or 1604, an armor for equine head, spadoni, decorated halberds. The royal armor is placed inside a niche that was designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi.

Room III or Sala Francesco Morosini as dedicated to the latter by the Council of Ten: it is characterized by the presence of a bronze bust of the latter, placed in a niche. In the hall are also preserved swords, halberds, quivers, crossbows, a decorated colubrina dating back to the sixteenth century, a seventeenth-century arquebus with twenty pipes.

Room IV: characterized by the presence of numerous mixed weapons, there are preserved crossbows of the sixteenth century, gun clubs, hatchets, fire swords, arquebuses. There is also the devil’s box, which can hide four gun barrels and a poisoned arrow inside. There are also numerous instruments of torture, flanked by a chastity belt and some weapons belonging to the Carrara family, originally from Padua but defeated by the Venetians in 1405.

Administration environments
From the Square Atrium you can access the rooms dedicated to the administration and the bureaucracy of the building, with the room of the Notary Ducale, secretary of the various magistracies of the State, and that of the Deputy at the Secret of the Council of Ten, special secretary of the powerful council. These two rooms can also be reached by climbing a ladder that connects them to the Wells. The offices of the Cancellier Grande were located in the mezzanine aboveand of the Regent at the Chancellery, head of the archives, directly elected by the Maggior Consiglio, with the adjacent Sala della Cancelleria Segreta, where the most important administrative documents were kept in numerous closets: on the upper doors, mirror, the coats of arms and names stand out of the chancellors who succeeded one another starting from 1268.

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.