A weekend in Venice: Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs

bridge of sighs

We spent most of the morning in Venice wandering the little back streets. We didn’t quite know where we were going, but although there were a few signs pointing back to St Mark’s Square, we gathered that as long as you came across a canal and followed it, you’ll end up on the Grand Canal at some point.

Whilst we were wandering we came across another little square and the Arte Musica Venezia Museum.

bridge of sighs

The museum is based in the San Giacomo Di Rialto church and is host to the Antonio Vivaldi collection. Admission is free.

Antonio Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, and an ordained Catholic Priest. He was born in Venice on March 4th, 1678 and is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers. His influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He died in Vienna on July 28th, 1741.

After lunch in a cute little cafe, we decided to see how busy the queues were for Doge’s Palace. We had seen the Bridge of Sigh’s from outside, but we wanted to walk across it.

bridge of sighs

Palazzo Ducale – Doge’s Palace

We were pleasantly surprised to see that the queue that had been extremely long just a few hours before, was down to around a 5-minute wait; so we decided to head in.

Entry to Doge’s Palace is 19 euros for an adult, but this gives you entry to 4 museums on the square – Doge’s Palace, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. 

The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. A Doge was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice from 697 – 1797.

From what we could gather, from the history we saw, each Doge only served for around 10 years. There were some that served for only a year or two, and some served for slightly longer, but the majority was 10 years.

The rooms within the palace were breathtaking. Most looked like they were used as courtrooms and function rooms but the artwork on the walls was stunning. The amount of detail gone into each picture and the amount of time they must have taken.

There were also pictures of former Doge’s and magistrates.

bridge of sighs

The adjoining building to the palace was the prison. To reach there, you cross the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’. The bridge itself is quite narrow inside and you can just peek out and see the amazing view of Venice before being lead to the dark and dingy cell rooms.

bridge of sighs

To think of how many people crossed that bridge to enter the prison is unfathomable.

I am a bit of a history geek and I love seeing old buildings and envisioning how they used to be back in the day. How the people mus have felt. I can’t imagine that being led from the courtrooms to the prison was a particularly nice experience.

The prison rooms were just that, rooms. They were dark and cold, cemented walls with small thick wooden doors and little openings with bars on that shine just a little of light in.

I did find it amusing that Paul, being 6ft1, had to duck the doorways for most of the prison tour. People were definitely a lot shorter hundreds of years ago!

bridge of sighs

Whilst I loved the elegance of the Palace and seeing the grand rooms, the prison was the favourite part.

Although the view up the grand staircase is particularly breathtaking. I immediately thought that it would make a wonderful destination for a photo shoot or wedding photo’s.

bridge of sighs



1 Comment

  1. November 8, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    Oh I loved reading this post as Venice is one of my favourite places having been there three times before. The last time I went with the OH we did a similar tour of places. We too enjoyed Doges Palace and the Bridge of Sighs
    Next will be to go back with the children, but I think the experience will be a very different one!.

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