Team presentations were held in front of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) in Venice on Thursday. The Palazzo Ducale has two facades, one facing the lagoon and one facing the "Piazzetta", the latter is where the presentations took place.
If you imagine landing in Venice from the sea, as did those who came inland by ship, the first thing you see rising out of the water is the unmistakable shape of the Doge's Palace - the city's most famous building and official residence of the doges, who were the elected leaders of the former Venetian Republic.
For centuries the Doge's Palace had three fundamental roles: as the Doge residence, the seat of government and as the palace of justice. This was where some of the most important decisions for Venice's, and even Europe's destiny were taken.
Initially, when it was built in the IX century A.D. it is thought to have been more like a castle than a palace with four sighting towers and high defensive walls. In fact, it was in a strategic position controlling the city, near to its sea access. Later, beginning in 1309, and due to a series of fires and subsequent rebuilding, it became what we can see today - a splendid example of architecture incorporating Gothic, Moorish, and Renaissance characteristics.
This imposing building has the one feature typical of Venetian architecture: lightness. Despite its considerable size, the multi-coloured façade decorations and the splendid perforation of the Gothic loggias, like stone lace, give us an elegant structure that isn't heavy in appearance.
Photos: painting: The Doges’ Palace and Piazza San Marco, Venice, oil on canvas by Canaletto at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence; team presentation: top by Bettini, bottom by Sirotti
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