Since the 9th century, the head of the government of the Venetian Republic was called Doge which is derived from the Latin word dux and means military leader. Since this time the Doge's Palace was not only the home of the Doge, but also the seat of the government and the administration of the republic. The representative Doge's palace located at St. Mark's square also functioned as a symbol of the power and wealth of the republic.
Work on the current building was started in 1340. It is one of the most important non-sacral buildings of the Gothic. The Southern wing was completed by 1343. However, in part due to a plague epidemic, the entire building was not finished until the mid of the 15th century. During the 16th century it had to be rebuilt after three devastating fires. The new construction used the old plans for the building, but the interior design was done according to the contemporary taste of that time.