As part of the European Cavalcade Costsaver tour’s free time in Venice we partook of the Doge’s Palace. This place is so grand that this one post is only going to tell you about the courtyard.
Yep. Tis true. Just the courtyard.
OK. If you don’t know, the Doge’s Palace is at the heart of Venice, next to San Marco.
The Doge’s Palace, just like so many older buildings in Europe, has been built, extended, pieces burnt, pieces demolished, other pieces added and so on for hundreds and hundreds of years. For the Doge’s Palace this all began some time in the Twelfth century. So once again we were walking into history. This is the view straight ahead as we entered.
The dome above the far wall is San Marco (St Marks Basilica).
And this is to the right of the entry. You can see it’s a big space.
And this is a 16th century well head. There are two of them.
The entire courtyard has walls with statues. I noticed that the statues all appeared to be in different styles and made of different stone. A bit of research answered my unstated question: many of the statues are spoils of war. Did you notice St George and the Dragon?
This stone staircase is really quite spectacular in real life. Known as the Giant’s Staircase, it dates from 1567 and really tells us a lot about how the Venetians viewed themselves. The statue on the left is Mars, the old Roman god of war. The statue on the right is Neptune, the god of the sea. And it is near this staircase that the senate met before government meetings. So the symbology is of a mighty maritime nation, which they in fact were.
I could not help but be impressed by this courtyard. It is a place of power. Wealth, in the form of both commissioned and stolen statues surrounds all who stand here. Magnificent facades. It’s grand, totally grand.
I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Venice. My next post will be inside, where I will bore you with a million interiors. :)