The restoration of the Doge's Palace in Venice is completed: the interventions on the facades

Last spring, the picture gallery of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice was reopened after a long intervention of valorization and reorganization of some historical environments – the Sala della Quarantia Criminale, the Sala dei Cuoi and that of the Magistrate of the Laws – under the direction of the Civic Museum Foundation of Venice with the collaboration and support of the Venice International Foundation. A project that aims to restore the structure of the 17th century picture gallery, highlighting in particular the Flemish masterpieces of the collection, alongside the works of the Venetian masters to which the Palazzo Ducale gives prestige, from Carpaccio to Titian and Bellini, Tintoretto and Tiepolo.

The restoration of the Doge's Palace in Venice

But in the last few months the MUVE Foundation also carried out a series of important structural works on the building, from the functional renovation campaign of the building to conservation and restoration measures to restore the surfaces. And now the work on the facades has been completed, with the completion of the construction site, which was closed from the beginning of April 2022 on November 16th 18,000 working hours. The operation, financed by the city of Venice, cost money 2.8 million euros, divided into four phases of intervention aimed at the security of the external facades of the building, which, however, neither restricted the use by visitors nor – and here the challenge was particularly daring – affected the overall image of the Palace Ducale from St. Mark's Square, thanks to the use of mobile platforms. An exemplary way of working that the city administration is now proud of and announces that it wants to repeat at future construction sites for monument renovation.

Interventions on facades and stone elements

Ahead of georadar surveys, which facilitated the understanding of the construction system of the facades and opened the field for future studies and publications, the restoration campaign focused on improving the peculiar “tiles” that cover the ancient Doge's residence, a pattern of white and pink diamonds alternating from Istrian stone and Veronese red, which is immediately associated with the image of the world-famous palace. Not a simple decorative aid, but an integral part of the building structure with a 13 centimeter thick section, as recent work has shown. But work was also carried out on the towers and pinnacles that frame the roof (the former in red Verona stone, the latter in limestone), on the four tabernacles at the upper corners of the facades and on the stone “gargoyles” that are designed to allow rainwater to pass through the roof. As well as on the five Gothic lattice windows of the inner courtyard, the final part of the work on the side of the Ponte della Paglia that began in 2022. Last but not least, the desire to make the building in a dilapidated state earthquake-proof with a system of reinforcing the upper frame and solidifying the stone elements.

Livia Montagnoli

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