The Doge's Palace
Visible from the Adriatic, the Gothic and Renaissance style palace centralized the legislative, executive and judicial powers that were placed in the hands of the Doges. Venice did not yet exist, but the lagoon was already developing into villages with divergent interests. In 697, the Byzantine emperor Leo III brought them all under the control of a chief, or Doge in Venetian dialect. 118 Doges succeeded each other between 726 and 1797. A visit to the palace is a journey through this 1100-year era of splendour. Wander up and down the Scala d’Oro, leading to the hall of arms, the courtyards, the prisons and the Doge’s apartment where works by Veronese, Titian and Tintoretto illustrate the history of Venice. The Sala Del Maggior Consiglio, 52 meters long and 24 meters wide, houses Paradise, the largest painting by Tintoretto in the world. To reach the dungeons, walk across the famous Bridge of Sighs, so named because the condemned, on their way to their deaths, sighed as they caught their last glimpse of the lagoon.