Exterior: View of Inner Courtyard
The north side of the courtyard is closed by the junction between the Palace and St. Mark's Basilica, which used to be the Doge's chapel. At the center of the courtyard stand two well-heads dating from the mid-16th century. Used for formal entrances, the Giants' Staircase is guarded by Sansovino's two colossal statues of Mars and Neptune, which represents Venice's power by land and by sea. The rounded arch dedicated to Doge Francesco Foscari (1423-1457) alternates bands of Istrian stone and red Verona marble and links the Giants' Staircase to the Porta della Carta. Members of the Senate gathered before government meetings in the Senator's Courtyard, to the right of the Giants' Staircase. At the opposite end of the Renaissance façade, the wide Censors' Staircase leads visitors to the loggia floor.