The Doge of Venice was the most respected elder of the Venetian nobility and served as the head of state, and chief magistrate of the Serene Republic. During the Renaissance, three Doges were known to have played a part in Assassin Order's struggle with the Templars for control of the city:
- Giovanni Mocenigo (ruled from 1478-1485), poisoned by Carlo Grimaldi.
- Marco Barbarigo (1485-1486), assassinated by Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
- Agostino Barbarigo (1486-1501), poisoned by Tessa Varzi and Francesco Vecellio.
The Doge's residence is located in the Palazzo Ducale.
The Council of Ten, or simply the Ten, was one of the major governing bodies of the Republic of Venice from 1310 to 1797. Although its actions were often secretive, it was generally considered to be fair and effective in its governance of Venice by the citizens of the Republic.
- In the Renaissance, Carlo Grimaldi was a member of the Council of Ten until his death in 1485.
The Supreme Tribunal of the Three State Inquisitors was established to guard the security of the Republic. By means of espionage, counterespionage, internal surveillance, and a network of informers, they ensured that Venice did not come under the rule of a single "signore". One of the inquisitors - known as Il Rosso ("the red one") because of his scarlet attire - was chosen from the Doge's councilors, and two – known as Il Negri ("the black ones") because of their black attire – were chosen from the Council of Ten.
- In the Renaissance, Silvio Barbarigo Il Rosso was the "red" State Inquisitor, and therefore a member of the Doge's councilors.
As in Florence, Venice had a Signoria. This was comprised of the Doge, his councilors and advisors (the Minor Council), and the leaders of the Quarantine.
The Quarantine operated as a supreme court for criminal and civil justice.
An executive branch of the government, the Collegio functioned like a cabinet.
The main governing body, similar to a parliament, the Major Council was responsible for appointing the Doge. Membership was a hereditary right.
The Pregadi was a senate elected by the Major Council in charge of day-to-day legislation.