THE DOGE’S PALACE SECRET ITINERARIES
This tour takes the visitor into the most secret and fascinating rooms of the DOGE’S PALACE.
It starts in the rooms of the Ducal Notary and the Deputato alla Segreta. Interconnected, these lead into the Square Atrium. From here one passes up to the Office of the Great Chancellor, head of what today would be known as the General Archives. This staircase leads to the large and beautiful Chamber of the Secret Chancellery, whose walls are lined with cabinets containing public and secret documents relating to the work of most of the Venetian magistrature. The mirrored upper doors are decorated with the coats-of-arms and names of the various chancellors appointed from 1268 onwards. Passing through the small room of the Deputy to the Chancellery one comes to the Torture Chamber, also known as the Chamber of Torment; this disturbing place is linked directly with the Prisons. Though torture was practised in Venice, it was not particularly savage or gruesome, and from the 17th century onwards it was gradually abandoned; by the 18th century it had practically been abolished altogether. From the Torture Chamber you pass to the so-called Piombi. The name comes from the lead [piombo] covering on the roof. These cells were used exclusively for the prisoners of the Council of Ten – either those accused of political crimes, those awaiting sentence or those serving short prison terms. Though so vividly described by Giacomo Casanova, the Piombi did in fact offer prisoners much better conditions than those in the pozzi (the wells), the terrible cells on the ground floor of the Doge’s Palace. Both, reconstructed, cells that were occupied by Casanova make up part of the tour. From the Piombi you pass directly under the roof to the attic located at the corner of the building between the waterfront and canal-side facades. This was the site of one of the corner towers of the much earlier castle occupied by the Doge. The cabinets contain a number of weapons, most of them 16th century. From this attic, two long flights of stairs bring one to the Chamber of the Inquisitors, a much-feared magistratura that was set up in 1539 to protect state secrets. The ceiling is decorated with works by Tintoretto, painted in 1566-1567. From here one passes through to the Chamber of the Three Head Magistrates, responsible for preparing court cases and seeing that the Council rulings were carried out as quickly as possible. The decoration of the ceiling dates from 1553-54. The octagonal central panel with The Victory of Virtue over Venice is the work of Giambattista Zelotti, whilst the side compartments are by Giambattista Ponchino and Paolo Veronese. Via a secret passageway within a wooden cabinet, the Chamber of the Three Head Magistrates is linked directly to the Chamber of the Council of Ten, from where one can go on to visit the rest of the Palace.
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Not accessible with the standard ticket, the tour is accompanied by a specialized guide, for a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 25.
It starts at established times according to the following schedule: in Italian at 9.30 and 11.10; in English at 9.55, 10.45, and 11.35; in French at 10.20 and 12.00. The Secret Itineraries Tour is also available after 1 pm (until the closing time of the Palace) with an additional payment of 31 euro per group (service suspended from July 1st to August 31st). The tour takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes long.
The ticket includes the guided tour to the Secret Itineraries and grants access, without a guide, to the Doge’s Palace.
Accessibility: the Secret Itineraries tour is not accessible for people with mobility impairments or in wheelchairs. The visit is not recommended for pregnant women and children under 6 years old are not allowed.
Full price: 20,00 euro
Reduced: 14,00 euro
Children aged from 6 to 14; students* aged from 15 to 25; escorts (max. 2) for groups of children or students; citizens over 65; Venetian residents; holders of the Rolling Venice Card; holders of the Venice Card Transport & Culture; for those buying the combined ticket to the St. Mark’s Square Museums; holders of the Museum Pass; holders of the Clock Tower ticket; I.C.O.M. members*; F.A.I. members*; staff* of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali.
* document required
Call center from Italy 848 082 000 or ONLY from abroad +39 041 42730892.
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