Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy

The Doge’s Palace –Palazzo Ducale, is a gothic palace in Venice, northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice. Its two most visible façades look towards the Venetian Lagoon and St. Mark’s Square, or rather the Piazzetta. The use of arcading in the lower stories produces an interesting “gravity-defying” effect. There is also effective use of colour contrasts. The current palace was largely constructed from 1309 to 1424, designed perhaps by Filippo Calendario. It replaced earlier fortified buildings of which relatively little is known. Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon created the Porta della Carta in 1442, a monumental late-gothic gate on the Piazzettaside of the palace. This gate leads to a central courtyard. The palazzo’s principal function was to provide a space for the government to carry out its civic responsibilities to its people. The doge did, in fact, reside in the palazzo, however, he held no real power and was a representative figurehead for the Republic.

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