This small-group guided tour takes you inside Doge’s Palace, the heart of power in Venetian Republic. Get ready for Gothic architecture, lavish decorations, opulent rooms and uncover the sinister side of the palace. Illaria, one of our local guides, says, ‘The palace is connected to prison cells via the Bridge of Sighs; a chilling name that comes from the last sigh of seeing beautiful Venice for the last time.’
After you make your way through the courtyard – admiring the top-class views of the Gothic exterior, step inside to be dazzled by the Golden Staircase. Marvel at the statues of Hercules and Atlas and tilt your heads up for a ceiling spectacular. Your guide will share stories of the Doge and his role in Venice’s political system too. ‘A unique feature used was via ‘mouths of truth’; carved stone boxes, usually a lion’s head, used to post complaint letters. The oldest dates back to 1618 and can be found inside the palace’, says guide Illaria.
Snap a picture of Tintoretto’s Paradiso in The Grand Council Chamber, see weapons in the Armoury and wander around the Doge’s Apartments too. Up next is the haunting walk over the Bridge of Sighs. Walk in the footsteps of the prisoners and follow your guide into the gloomy prison cells. Illaria says, ‘The prisons were some of the most secure in the world, but there’s the legendary escape of Casanova. He daringly made a hole in the cell ceiling and made his way out – free to tell the tale.’