The Stairs of Giants


The Scala dei Giganti (Stairs of Giants) is a staircase designed by Antonio Rizzo and is located in the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy.


After a fire in 1483 destroyed sections of the Ducal Palace, the building underwent decades of renovations where renaissance architecture was injected into the gothic palace. In 1485 the decision was made to build a ceremonial staircase in the courtyard. Designed by the State Architect Antonio Rizzo, the construction of the staircase finished in 1491. The staircase was completed in 1550 with marble workings by Antonio Bregno and Domenico and Bernardino of Mantua.

In 1544 Jacopo Sansovino was commissioned to complete two sculptures for the staircase. In 1567 these two colossal sculptures of the Roman gods Mars and Neptune were added atop the staircase. The two figures symbolise the command that Venice had over the land and the sea. These two larger than life sculptures are the reason for the staircase’s name, the Staircase of the Giants.

The staircase is located in the central courtyard of the Doge’s palace and connects to the Porta della Carta. It was upon this staircase that the Doge was crowned with the corno.

Did you know?

On 17 April 1355 Doge Marino Falier was decapitated on the staircase. He attempted to consolidate all power to himself and thus was executed for committing high treason. The Venetians believed that power should not reside in a single individual.

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