Enjoy Skip-the-line to explore one of the most iconic building in Venice. The Secret Itinerary through the Doge’s Palace covers the rooms and chambers where the delicate work of some of the most important bodies in the Venetian administration was carried out. The tour offers an interesting insight into the civil and political history of the city, its public organizations and administration of justice.
Join the guided group tour which starts at winged lion column at the Saint Mark's Square and enter from the large and bright courtyard of Palazzo Ducale, rich in precious marble decorations, going through a narrow door on the ground floor, you’ll find yourself in the Pozzi (wells).
The guide will explain you the places of detention, consisting of small wet cells, barely lit by oil lamps, ventilated only through round holes in thick stone walls and closed in by locked doors with solid bolts. You’ll see the cells and some writings and some drawings on the walls as you can almost imagine and feel despair and the desire for freedom of the prisoners. Next, through a narrow staircase, you’ll visit the two small rooms of the Ducal Notary and the Deputato alla Segreta, important officers of the institutional machinery.
These interconnected rooms lead to a Square Atrium.
The guide will then lead you to a large and beautiful Chamber of the Secret Chancellery, whose walls are lined with cabinets containing public and secret documents relating to the work of most of the Venetian magistrate. Passing through the small room of the Deputy to the Chancellery one comes to the Torture Chamber, also known as the Chamber of Torment; this disturbing place is linked directly with the Prisons. The guide will explain how torture was practiced in Venice and I which century it was abolished.
You’ll continue to the Piombi From the Torture Chamber. These cells were used exclusively for the prisoners of the Council of Ten, either those accused of political crimes, those awaiting sentence or those serving short prison terms. You’ll understand why Piombi is in much better conditions than those in the Pozzi, the terrible cells on the ground floor of the Doge’s Palace.
From the Piombi you pass directly under the roof to the attic located at the corner of the building between the waterfront and canal–side facades. Inside it has cabinets that contain a number of weapons, most of the 16th century. From this attic, two long flights of stairs bring one to the Chamber of the Inquisitors, a much-feared magistrate that was set up in 1539 to protect state secrets.
Before the tour ends, the guide will reveal stories of the council, political history, institutional bodies deputed to government and justice of the Venice Republic.
Piazza San Marco (in front of "Yex" Exchange Office, under the clock tower)