The magnificent Doge’s Palace is one of the most amazing sights in Venice. It was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice.
The palace was begun on the site in the time of Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172-1178). It was built out of fortresses, one facade to the Piazetta, the other overlooking St Mark’s basin. Little of the original remains.
The new Gothic palace’s constructions started around 1340, focusing on the side of the building facing the lagoon. In 1424 Doge Francesco Foscari extended the rebuilding works to the wing overlooking the Piazetta. After a fire in 1483 Antonio Rizzo introduced Renaissance architecture to the renovation. There have been many changes to the palace over the centuries.
The ground floor and first floor have beautiful white marble pillars along the facades on 2 sides, the one facing the lagoon and the Piazetta.
They are all white…except for 2, which are pink. Legend has it that the doge used to stand between these 2 during official ceremonies. It was also here that death sentences were announced to the crowd below ( the pink suggesting the colour of blood).
The most common place for the gallows was between the 2 columns overlooking the waterfront. Across the far side of St Mark’s Square was the clock tower, so the condemned man could see the exact time of his demise.
We stood in front of the columns for some time wondering about the pink columns, when we discovered the explanation in our trusty Secret Venice. I have just ordered Secret Tuscany which will accompany me on my new travels around gorgeous Tuscany soon. It is bound to reveal some fascinating details.