Venice’s Doge’s Palace is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside

I have a million pictures of it myself
I have a million pictures of it myself

Probably every single visitor to Venice takes a million and a half photos of the Doge’s palace exterior. The pink and cream patterned exterior with its gothic quattrefoils and pointed arches is unmistakably Venice and the perfect backdrop for a selfie or ten (ugh). But what lots of folks don’t really realize is there is a pretty great museum in that Doge’s palace.

And between the bits of armor and the creepy prisons and the pathway over the Bridge of Signs:

So romantic sounding. So NOT romantic historically. image via wikimedia commons
So romantic sounding. So NOT romantic historically. It was a pathway for prisoners and you get to go through it if you visit the museum. image via wikimedia commons

It’s a good place to visit. But the things that make it really, really good? For one, the fact that Tintoretto’s Paradise is there and it is HUGE and AMAZING and my love for Tintoretto knows no ends:

This photo (one of my own) is pretty terrible, but still you see how giant that thing is
This photo (one of my own) is pretty terrible, but still you see how giant that thing is
that's a bit better (image via wga.hu)
that’s a bit better (image via wga.hu)

That thing is 74 feet wide. Let me repeat: seventy-four feet wide. That’s a six-story building laying on its side. THAT IS GIGANTIC. Consider the engineering complexities that had to be overcome to create and install that sucker. Unreal. But oh, wait, maybe that also looks a wee bit familiar? Possibly you recall that yes, at the Louvre, in the same room as that lousy Mona Lisa is a study for this painting? Full-circle baby, everything comes full-circle. So if not for the architecture and the weird convict history, or the Tintorettos, you should go to the museum in the Doge’s Palace for the Scala dei Giganti (Giant’s Staircase) a fancy, huge staircase in the courtyard with two giant marble sculptures of Mars and Neptune by Jacopo Sansovino from 1567. Now, odds are you haven’t really heard of Jacopo Sansovino before, but here’s why this is way cool: Jacopo Sansovino was thinking about (and in certain ways trying to compete with) Michelangelo when he made those Mars and Neptune figures. You’ve heard of him, right? Michelangelo and his David and Sistine Ceiling and all that? Well Sansovino was directly responding to Michelangelo and bringing Michelanagelo’s sculptural style to Venice with his giants and that my friends is pretty damn cool.**

Can you see the Michelangelo-ish-ness?
Can you see the Michelangelo-ish-ness?

** of course it is way more complex/complicated than this, but let’s start with the broad strokes shall we?

Next week: MILAN!

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4 thoughts on “Venice’s Doge’s Palace is as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside

  1. I do remember it was cold in the Doge’s palace in early March–guess the Tintoretto has to keep you warm. A very cool building, as I recall (no pun intended, actually). Was there a map room here?

    1. Venice is CHILLY! You don’t really think it will be, but damp cold is the worst kind of cold. You know, I don’t remember if there is a map room there, but I would definitely not be surprised. That’s the type of thing that is usually in a palace.

      1. I’ve been there twice: the first time it was late July — not cold at all, and I don’t remember it being crowded: the big problem that day was that we got kicked out before official closing time.

        I just checked my copy of Venice for Kids (a great little series that helped keep my kids busy looking for certain features on that cold March tour of the Doge’s Palace). Yes, there is a map room — I’ll have to google it. My husband loves maps, which is why it made an impression on me.

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