Palazzo Ducale, Venezia
June 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
[The Doge’s Palace, Venice]
We showed up at the Palazzo Ducale at 10:30am, waiting for the only English “Secret itineraries guided tour” of the day. This is a guided tour that I highly recommended, even if it means you have to miss the hour when the Basilica di San Marco is lit up inside. The main reason is that, it takes you to so many corners inside the palazzo where is inaccessible for the regular visitors. I made the reservation online without any hassle.
Our guide took us up into a tiny office which belong to the Chancellor. This is one of the most important room in the palazzo, where the Chancellor worked on all the secret document of the state. It was lovely to see the original furniture upclose. We were standing right next to the desk and the chair. Then we moved to a few bigger offices where they archieve all the documents. I was surprised to hear that Venice has the world’s 3rd largest collection of document of antiquity, after Vatican and Vienna.
Then we left the glamour, arrived at the torture chamber and Casanova’s cell. It was a special experience to stand inside what was once the most painful nightmare for someone hundred of years ago. Looking around this tiny room with low ceiling, I couldn’t imagine how people spent years after years in such condition without going crazy.
We were told the curious story of Casanova’s famous escape. I actually got a copy of his auto-biography. Honestly, he was a jerk, but it was interesting to read how he managed to escaped. From he faked his allergy to dust, so no one would sweep the floor while he dug a hole there, to him walking out the palazzo through the front door… It was an entertaining read.
After the guided tour, we walked around other parts of the palazzo for another hour. One of the hall has the most amazing ceiling I’ve seen. The frames on the ceiling were sculpted with great depth, it was very heavy visually and haven’t seen anything like that anywhere else. Too bad photography wasn’t allowed except on the grand staircase with the goldern ceiling.
Previous stop: Venezia Santa Lucia (Railway Station)
Next stop: Basilica di San Marco