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The Doge's Palace



Location and history A masterpiece of Gothic art, the Doge's Palace in Venice is structured in a grandiose stratification of constructive and ornamental elements: from the ancient foundations to the fourteenth-fifteenth-century layout of the whole, to the conspicuous Renaissance inserts, to the sumptuous mannerist signs . It consists of three large buildings that have incorporated and unified previous buildings: the wing facing the San Marco Basin (which contains the Sala del Maggior Consiglio) and which is the oldest, rebuilt starting in 1340; the wing facing the Piazza (formerly the Palazzo di Giustizia) with the Sala dello Scrutinio, whose construction in its present form begins in 1424; on the opposite side, the Renaissance wing, with the Doge's residence and many government offices, rebuilt between 1483 and 1565. The public entrance to Palazzo Ducale is the Porta del Frumento (so called because it was located next to it the "Ufficio delle Biade"), which opens under the portico of the fourteenth-century facade overlooking the San Marco Basin. The origins: the first doges. The first permanent settlements in the Venetian lagoon probably date back to a time following the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476). Over time, these settlements become more and more lasting, so much so that they are considered real outpost positions of the Byzantine Empire. At the beginning of the ninth century, what is now taking the shape of the city of Venice acquires greater autonomy, favored by the remoteness of the capital and also emphasized from a religious point of view. Devotion to Theodore, the eastern patron saint, was replaced by the cult of the apostle Mark, whose mortal remains, according to a later historiography, would have been preserved in the lagoon city. In the year 810, Doge Angelo Partecipazio moved the seat of government from the island of Malamocco to the Rivoalto area (the current Rialto). The decision to build the palatium duci here, the Doge's Palace, dates back to this phase. It can be hypothesized that the model could have been the Diocletian of Split's palace, although nothing has survived of the 9th century structures.





The palace. The ancient castle (X-XI). We therefore do not know how the ancient palace must have been; probably the area it occupies today consisted of an agglomeration of buildings of different shapes and uses, protected and surrounded by a substantial wall reinforced at the corners by massive towers and isolated by a canal. Remains of the fortifications and corner towers still survive today. In the numerous building structures that crowded this area, which was accessed by a large fortified gate, located more or less at the height of the Porta della Carta, there were public offices, the courthouse and prisons, the Doge's home , stables, armories and more. The crenellated layout that is recognized in the first map of Venice that has come down to us, the work of Fra 'Paolino, can be considered a summary testimony.






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