The palace of palaces, the centre of political and legislative power, the highest symbol of Venetian civilisation, and a motif in every veduta. Over a period of almost 1000 years, 120 Doges held the reins of Venice's destiny. The complex, which comprises three wings with lengths of between 70 and 100 m, was mainly given its present, Gothic form, in the 14th and early 15th centuries. The marble-clad façade alone, the lower areas of which are ornamented with countless delicate columns and arches, merits the greatest admiration. You should also make note of the beautiful sculptures "Adam and Eve", and "Noah's Drunkenness" on the corners of the south wing, and the charming scenes on each one of the dozens of column capitals. A tour of the inside of the Doge's palace is completely overwhelming. It starts opposite the Loggetta and the campanile with its High Gothic main door, the Porta della Carta, through which one enters the inner courtyard dominated by a double-storey triumphal arch, the Arco Foscari, and the Scala dei Giganti, which guards Jacopo Sansovino's statues of Neptune and Mars. Continuing on the tour, one encounters "wonder upon wonder", as the French statesman François de Châteaubriand, blinded by so much splendour, enthused. The most important painters of the 16th century, in particular Tintoretto, Titian and Paolo Veronese, were involved in decorating these rooms. Their paintings, the majority of which are extremely large-scale, depict the most important events in the city's history from the myths around its foundation to its great military victories. The most overpowering impression is created by the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, a room measuring 54 x 25 m, in which the Great Council with up to 1800 members voted for high-ranking officials and men of the Signoria. What most captivates the eye in this spectacular room is Tintoretto's painting of paradise on the front wall which, measuring 7 x 22 m, is the biggest painting on canvas in the world. The tour concludes by crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs to the New Prison.