(some fun snaps using an old lens on my full frame camera. hence, the funky boarders)
Piazza Saint Marco is the central public square in Venice and where you’ll find St Mark’s basilica and the Doge’s palace. Most of ancient Venice’s important buildings and monuments are located in this main area, including the library, mint, clock tower and entryway to the lagoon on the square’s south side.
I had already been to Venice before on an prior trip to Italy but the Doge’s palace is always a favorite. The palace is built in the Venetian gothic style and highly distinctive with its endless pink and white marble columns. Here, the Doge not only received visitors and held formal court but also lived with his family. The museum tour guides you through the impressive antechambers and formal reception halls as well as the dungeon. There are also some secret passageways, if you look closely!
I always found the role of the Doge interesting, because its not what exactly what it seems. ‘Doge’ translates to Duke but the Doge of Venice was the elected chief of state of the Republic of Venice and the symbolic leader of the city.
When the old Doge died, a new one was chosen from among the ranks of noblemen in the hundred worth families. The ancient Venetian government was well designed as a system of checks and balances, and so in accordance with his lifelong term, the Doge’s power was extremely limited and more symbolic in nature. Hey- sounds like a great job to me: limited responsibility with the perk of a nice pad!
Finally, make sure you make time for a trip to Florence and then take a day trip to Pisa. One of my favorite places in Italy to visit is Cinque Terre – that’s a must as well! If you have more time, combine a trip to Italy with France!