Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 22, 2015

Why pink?

The magnificent Doge’s Palace is one of the most amazing sights in Venice. It was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice.

Doge's Palace Venice

The palace was begun on the site in the time of Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172-1178). It was built out of fortresses, one facade to the Piazetta, the other overlooking St Mark’s basin. Little of the original remains.

The new Gothic palace’s constructions started around 1340, focusing on the side of the building facing the lagoon. In 1424 Doge Francesco Foscari extended the rebuilding works to the wing overlooking the Piazetta. After a fire in 1483 Antonio Rizzo introduced Renaissance architecture to the renovation. There have been many changes to the palace over the centuries.

Doge's Palace Venice

The ground floor and first floor have beautiful white marble pillars along the facades on 2 sides, the one facing the lagoon and the Piazetta.

Doge's Palace Venice

They are all white…except for 2, which are pink. Legend has it that the doge used to stand between these 2 during official ceremonies. It was also here that death sentences were announced to the crowd below ( the pink suggesting the colour of blood).

Doge's Palace Venice

Doge's Palace Venice

Doge's Palace Venice

The most common place for the gallows was between the 2 columns overlooking the waterfront. Across the far side of St Mark’s Square was the clock tower, so the condemned man could see the exact time of his demise.

We stood in front of the columns for some time wondering about the pink columns, when we discovered the explanation in our trusty Secret Venice. I have just ordered Secret Tuscany which will accompany me on my new travels around gorgeous Tuscany soon. It is bound to reveal some fascinating details.





  1. A very interesting story, Debra and beautiful photos, as usual. I knew that the Palace was built using pink Veronese marble and white Valpolicella limestone; however, I am a bit surprised that they used the same pink marble to represent the blood when they could have used the red variety, also from Verona, which has a very deep red colour… Puzzling!

    • Perhaps red might have been a bit too much contrast. It may have looked a little odd. We really were standing in front of the columns wondering why they were there when we spotted an explanation in the book. Who knows whether these things are true or just hearsay?

      • You are right, Debra. Red would have been too much. Perhaps, nothing to do with blood, but to help draw the attention on the Doge… They had no special lighting at the time…

      • I’m sure he would have wanted to be noticed.

  2. Well I never knew that Deb…. and we actually went on a guided tour of the Doges Palace when last in Venice. The guide told us nothing about the colour pink!

    It was really a most wonderful tour….saw little offices overlooking St Mark’s Square…..prison cells……a small chapel…..private library….and even went right up to the ceiling beams of the palace….all incredibly fascinating.

    I adored it. Look forward to your Tuscan secrets too in due course.



    • I haven’t done that tour, the queues were just too much when we were there. We did go to the museum upstairs in the church, which is amazing.

  3. I had no idea. Thanks Debra. Did you see the executioner’s house in Piazza Santo Stefano? Also chilling.

    • No, I haven’t been there…next time. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Deb,

    How can we order a copy of “Secret Tuscany?” While Venice is interesting, I still plan to visit Tuscany and that books sounds much more useful to me. Thanks for your fascinating blogs!

    • I ordered mine through Avid Reader at West End. Secret Florence is also excellent. I am looking forward to some secrets in Tuscan towns.

      • Thank you – I’ll look both up as I want to visit Firenze, too!

  5. Such a gorgeous image! Would love to go to Venice one day and visit the Doge’s Palace 🙂

    • Venice is amazing, you will love it.

  6. You really make Italy feel so vibrant and yet so dark and mysteriously ancient at the same time. You know her so well Deb and have a unique talent for sharing the vibe. Love this post and hope one day I’ll see Venice again..

  7. I’m determined to visit Venice one day! I fell in love in Rome and I’ve heard that Venice is just as swoonworthy.

    • Venice is stunning. There is nothing quite like your first trip down the Grand Canal…quite magical.

  8. Ah yes … everything has a history. Gotta love the pic of the palace across the water.

    • Venice is incredible. You could spend a lifetime there and not see everything.

  9. Another interesting story Deb. That is a great book particularly for someone like you who has so much interest to discover more about Italy.

    • I really like all the little details about these fabulous places.

  10. The Doge’s palace looks stunning. Those Secret guides sound like pretty useful travelling companions.

    • The Secret books are great. We have had a lot of fun wandering around places with the book in hand.

  11. What a great discovery! I never knew. And it’s nice to know you are unraveling those from the book til now.

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