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Scala dei Giganti, Palazzo Ducale, Venice

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Scala dei Giganti, Palazzo Ducale, Venice 1860s

Not on display

After a fire in 1483 destroyed parts of the interior of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, large areas had to be reconstructed. Work began on the Scala dei Giganti, the staircase leading up to the State Apartments on the first floor of the palace. It has a significant place within Venice’s history, because for centuries the coronation of new Doges – the elected rulers of Venice – took place in the gallery at the top of these stairs. Completed in 1550, the Staircase of the Giants owes its name to the two larger-than-life-size sculptures by Jacopo Sansovino. They represent the Roman gods Mars and Neptune and symbolise the city’s power over land and sea. Their installation in 1565 marked the end of the renovation work that introduced Renaissance architecture into the centuries-old building.

Glossary Open


A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.



  • Acc. No. PGP R 762
  • Medium Albumen print
  • Size 35.2 x 26.8 cm
  • Credit Gift of Mrs. Riddell in memory of Peter Fletcher Riddell, 1985