Ducal Palace Courtyard Venice Italy about 1892

Ducal Palace Courtyard Venice Italy about 1892

COURTYARD OF THE DUCAL PALACE, VENICE — In another illustration the exterior of this wonderful building is portrayed, as it fronts upon the Piazzetta. We are here looking on a portion of its inner courtyard, around which rise the marble walls of the Palace, magnificently decorated with stone carving and statuary in bronze and marble. In the foreground is one of two elaborate bronze well-curbs here, the work of Venetian artists 350 years ago. Upon their marble steps Venetian women often sit to rest themselves before returning homeward with their pails of water, gossiping gaily of to-day, unmindful of the history with which each stone in this old building seems at times so eloquent. In the distance we perceive the marble steps, known as the “Giants’ Staircase,” because of the colossal statues of Mars and Neptune which decorate its summit. This is more than 400 years old, and for centuries at the head of its steps the Doges of Venice were crowned. Byron in his tragedy of “Marino Faliero” makes this the place of that sovereign’s execution, and the concluding line of his drama is, “The gory head rolls down the Giants’ Steps.” Unfortunately, Marino Faliero was decapitated before this stairway had been built, but it is a fact that he was beheaded in this palace. Just beyond the “Giants’ Steps” is a flight of stairs leading to the upper story, called the Scala d’Oro, or the Golden Staircase, from the magnificence of its ornamentation. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)




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