The Secret Itinerary of the Prisons: Cells, Tortures and Instruments of Punishment

Discover the secret itinerary of the Prisons in Piazza San Marco, one of the earliest jails in Europe! Explore the dark cells and listen about fascinating Casanova and his jailbreak! Only for small group (maximum 15 people per visit). By Venice Tours

  • Discover the 16th century prisons of Piazza San Marco
  • Explore the dark cells
  • Learn more about Casanova's jailbreak

Discover the ancient Prisons of Piazza San Marco connected to the Doge’s Palace by the Bridge of Sighs. An amazing route in which you will be accompanied through places never visited until now: enter in the torture room and see real torments items used in the past to make the criminals confess! The Palace is "populated" by life-size figures of the Lords of the Night, prisoners, Judges, Lawyers and all the characters who worked in the Prisons, painstakingly drawn from ancient manuscripts.

Discover how the justice was managed thanks to the Lords of the Nights: the terrible Venetian police who oversaw the crimes and brought lawbreakers in front of the courtroom! You’ll go down to see the cold cells to discover the lifestyle of the prisoners: what they ate, drank and where they slept. See the original graffiti left by the prisoners and listen about the thrilling Casanova’s escape: he managed to evade from the maximum-security jail known as “Piombi”! Listen to the histories and legends that still reside inside these cells and halls. Along the itinerary you’ll enjoy the explanation of the powerful “Council of The Ten”, composed by the highest Venice Politicians that ran the justice in all Venetian domains. Since the birth of the Republic, Venice has been always careful to the administration of justice, of which used to do proudly with own judicial system composed by courts, lawyers and magistrates.

One of the main points was the operating police used to resolve fights and punish the perpetrators of crimes.

You will discover the alternative that prisoners had between staying in a cell or serving their sentence on board a Venetian galley. Each year of boarding as a Galeotti was worth the same as spending 2 years in a cell.

Nowadays the Palace, that overlooks the stunning Riva Degli Schiavoni, is home of an important Venetian cultural institution.


The building which is located in a very central position was planned by the architect Antonio Da Ponte in 1589 and was completed around 1614. The Palace hosted one of the most ancient magistracies of the Venetian Republic “The Lords of Night at the Criminal“: this important judicial organism consisted of six members representing the city’s quarters and covering tasks of police and surveillance, as well as instructing processes. Nowadays, the prison’s palace is the seat of the Artistic Circle of artists which welcomes guests offering different cultural experiences and concerts.


  • Starting times: 10:00 AM -11:00 AM -12:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Duration: about 1 hour
  • Cancellation: bookings can be cancelled with no charge up to 24 hours before the service. The tour can be cancelled in case of exceptional high tide, in this case the tour can be rescheduled the day after otherwise the client will be refunded


  •  1 hours shared multilingual guided tour
  •  Entrance skip the line to the Prison Palace and its secret itinerary

Not included

  • Doge's Palace


Max 15 pax per visit

Other Info

  • For Covid-19 precaution the use of the mask is MANDATORY. So, please bring your own.
  • Unfortunately, this tour is not fully accessible for wheelchair users or people with walking disabilities 
  • The tour could be shared with other guests not belonging to the same party and may be multilingual
  • It is mandatory to be at the meeting point 10 minutes before the departure time
  • Comfortable shoes suggested
  • The meeting point is at Palazzo Delle Prigioni, beside the Doge’s Palace, few steps from St.Mark's Square. In Piazza San Marco, with the Doge’s Palace in front of you and the S.Mark’s Basin at your back, go on the right, cross the Bridge (from where you see the Bridge of Sighs) and then look on the left, you will see the entrance of the Palazzo delle Prigioni.
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