Il Palazzo di Doge, or 'the Ducal Palace,' is a museum situated in Venice, Italy between the Plaza San Marco and the waterfront (Riva deglia Schiavone). Originally, it was the residence of the Doge (Duke), the leader of the Venetian Republic. As such, it contained the Doge's apartments as well as courtrooms, antechambers, an armory, the senate chambers, map rooms, barracks, etc. etc. - all the functions of the seat of government. Around the beginning of the twentieth century, it was converted into a museum, since the Venetian Republic was by then of course part of Italy and did not need a national government.

I highly recommend this attraction if you visit Venice. The Gold Staircase is impressive, as are the Armory exhibits and the Council Room where hundreds of representatives and ministers met to decide the fate of the Republic. There are good historical snippets and lessons spread throughout it.

The Palazzo is connected to Il Prigioni Nuovo (The New Prisons) across a canal by the Ponte de Sospire (The Bridge of Sighs) so named for the prisoners being marched across it from the courts in the palace to the cells.

The Palazzo is featured in many, many popular views of Venice. Any film shot of Venice which shows the Plaza San Marco's access to the seafront, a wide way known as the Piazzetta San Marco, will show the Palazzo as the eastern border of the Piazzetta. The Palazzo itself lies between the Basilica San Marco (the Cathedral) and the waterfront, and is joined to the southern side of the Basilica.

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