The architecture of the Doge’s Palace is Gothic, and the foundations were built in the 14th century. They say the first settlements in the lagoon were just after the fall of the Roman Empire (476) and were part of the Byzantine Empire. In 810 the seat of government was moved to this location but nothing remains of that 9th century building.
The Palace consists of several different buildings that were put together to create the Palace. In the 10th century part of it was destroyed by fire, and the new palace portions were decorated with Byzantine elements.
There are paintings here by Bellini, Pordenone, Titian and others from the 16th century.
The palace also contained a jail, which we toured, I can't imagine what it would have been like to be there, I'm sure it was horrible. When going to be exceuted the prisoners walked across the Bridge of Sighs, we walked across it too.
Since the Palace was the heart of the political life of the Venietian Republic, when it in fell in 1797 its role changed. Venice was first ruled by France, then Austria and then in 1866 French rule, then to Austrian, and ultimately, in 1866, it became part of united Italy. By 1900 the building was really decaying so was restored and it became a public museum.
It's amazing that all this artwork survives in such a humid climate.
From the Palace we visited the Cathedral then we had free time, which I used to tromp around the island. Venice is beautiful but it has a serious problem being overrun with tourists.
There were thousands and thousands of people being dumped off. Fortunately while our hotel was only two blocks from San Marco Square it was off the main tourist streets.
I picked up a book called "The Politics of Washing, Real Life in Venice" by Polly Coles. She, her Italian husband and children moved to Venice. She describes the challenges of living in todays Venice.
I would say 20 years ago would have been a better time to visit Venice, but it was beautiful all the same.
There were 5 gondolas carrying our group and we had a singer and an accordian player that added to the allure. Seeing the Island from the water gave you an entirely different perspective.