Doge's Palace - one of the top Venice attractions

The interiors of the Doge's Palace are quite spectacular, including numerous magnificent paintings glorifying the Venetian Republic and a multitude of excellent architecture and decoration.

Looking at such fragile, lace-like architecture as the Doge’s Palace… one would never say it was once the seat of a powerful, shrewd and, some might say, cruel government of the Venetian Republic… also known as La Serenissima.

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The Doge’s Palace was, as the name already suggests, the official residence of the Doge. The Doge was a noble, elected by other nobles in order to rule the Republic. Once elected, a Doge held the position for life.

Different Doges ruled the Venetian Republic for over 1000 years.

At the time when any other European power was ruled by crowned heads, Venice wanted to stop power from falling into the hands of one dynasty.

DINING-ROOM TABLE TIDBIT: The first Doge was instated in Venice around 700 AD.

Apart from being the Doge’s residence, the Doge’s Palace had 2 other major roles:

  • the seat of Venetian government
  • the Palace of Justice

The palace also served as archive and prison up until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.

DINING-ROOM TABLE TIDBIT: Although the ruler of the Republic, the Doge was quite restricted in his freedoms… he hardly had any private life, could not receive foreign ambassadors alone, could not receive personal presents, could not leave Venice at his will, and his descendents couldn’t profit from his power or inherit anything.

Today, the Doge's Palace is used as a museum and any Mediterranean cruise ship guest visiting Venice should definitely try to set aside an hour or two to visit and experience it.

The interiors of the Doge's Palace are quite spectacular, including numerous magnificent paintings glorifying the Venetian Republic and a multitude of excellent architecture and decoration. If you appreciate these, then it will quite simply be a feast for your eyes! Enjoy!

Visiting the Doge's Palace - one of the top museums in Venice

Entrance for the public to the Doge's Palace is from the San Marco Piazzetta (facing the Doge's Palace, go to the right-hand side, the entrance is by the façade facing the waterfront).

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You will need to purchase a ticket:

- The basic single ticket (which also includes a visit to a few other museums in and around St Mark’s square) is €12. It is reduced to €6,50 for children aged 6-14 and students aged 15-19.

- Only purchase the Museum Pass if you wish to visit all the museums in and around St Mark’s square (which honestly as a Med cruiser, you’ll hardly have enough time for), one bonus is that it does also include entrance to the Glass Museum on Murano Island. The cost of this pass is €18.

For more information on tickets and bookings, you can visit the official site here.


1. Wandering around on your own – if you don’t have too much time or concentration to follow organized tours around, this is the way to go.

After a while it might become a bit overwhelming, as there is so much to see and you will have no idea what you’re looking at unless you have a good guidebook with you (although for the basic information you can refer to the information board in every room).

Good enough for those in a rush (as a Mediterranean cruiser you might be one of them) and those who just want to say: “I’ve been there!”

For a little help with seeing the Doge's Palace on your own, download a free mini audio guide here.

2. Wandering around on your own accompanied with an audio guide – you will like this if you have enough patience and you are genuinely interested in Venetian art and history. The audio guide is a €5 charge and it takes about 90 minutes.

3. Visit the Doge’s Palace as part of your cruise ship organized Shore Excursion. For more information visit your cruise line’s website.

4. Pre-book the Secret Itineraries Tour - this tour will not give you a general overview of the Doge’s Palace and it’s most attractive rooms.

It will concentrate more on the little nooks and crannies not normally accessible to those with a regular ticket. In about 1.5 hours this tour will take your Doge’s Palace experience to another level.

If you want to learn more about the palace’s prisons, torture rooms, walk over the Bridge of Sighs, and hear spicy stories about Casanova’s prison escape… you will enjoy it!

For only a few euros more than the basic admission, you will get both a tour, learn the history background and after that be left to explore the Doge’s Palace on your own.

This tour is organized into smaller groups for up to 25 people so make sure you make your bookings ahead.

Before you choose the time of your tour, make sure you double check the time of your ship’s arrival into Venice (some arrive early in the morning while others arrive only in the afternoon), and allow enough time for getting downtown from the cruise ship terminal.

Practical info on the Doge's Palace

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  • 9am – 6pm (ticket office open 9am – 5pm) 

      1st November to 31st March

  • 9am – 7pm (ticket office open 9am – 6pm)         

      1st April to 31st October

Closed on 25th December and 1st January

There are a number of services available to you when you visit the Doge's Palace in Venice:

  • Information office
  • Toilets
  • Café
  • Shop
  • Audio guides

The Doge's Palace in Venice is wheelchair-accessible and has wheelchair-accessible lifts. However, the Secret Itineraries tour, the Prisons and the Armory are not wheelchair-accessible.

Visiting Doge's Palace - tips

  • You can skip the huge queue for the Doge's Palace in Venice by buying your ticket for the Doge's Palace at the Correr Museum (the ticket actually includes visiting both the Palace and the Museum) on the opposite end of St Mark’s square. When you get to the Palace of Doges, you can then bypass the line and go straight in.
  • Be one of the first, or last, to enter the Doge's Palace so you can avoid larger tour crowds.
  • Last admission is one hour before closing time.
  • Photography is not allowed.
  • If you are on the Secret Itineraries tour in summer, it can get very very hot in the little room up in the attic. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you and maybe even a fan.

If you think your time in Venice is too precious to wander around the Doge's Palace aimlessly, here's our suggestions for informative guided tours...

1. Doge's Palace Guided Tour

  • Highlights: Skip the line and get to know once the seat of power of Venice, admire artwork by Titian Veronese and Tintoretto, cross the Bridge of Sighs...
  • Departure: 
  • November 1st 2015 to March 31st 2016: 10:30am
  • April 1st to October 31st 2016: 11:15am, 2:15pm (only in English)
  • Meeting Point: Central Venice
  •

2. Morning Venice Walking Tour plus Doge's Palace Guided Visit

  • Highlights: Get to know all the iconic buildings of St Mark's square, the churches and squares around, the site of Marco Polo's house, Doge's palace...
  • Departure: 9am
  • Meeting Point: Central Venice
  •

3. Small-Group Legendary Venice St Mark's Basilica and Doges Palace

  • Highlights: A very informative tour for both history buffs and casual travelers, get to know the iconic buildings of St Marks, visit the basilica itself, explore the Doge's palace
  • Departure: 
  • 01 May 2016 - 31 October 2016: Mondays at 8:30am & Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays at 2pm
  • 01 November 2016 - 19 December 2016: Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays at 2:00 PM
  • 20 December 2016 - 10 January 2017: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays at 2:00 PM
  • 11 January 2016 - 28 February 2017: Thursdays, Saturdays at 2:00 PM
  • Meeting Point: Central Venice
  •

Deals on Hotels and Shore Excursions:

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