"sprawled there on that Doge's daybed"
The Doge's Palace, Venice
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Doge's Palace, Venice - Credit: Tango7174

The Doge was the ruler of the powerful maritime city-state of Venice.  The word comes from Dux (Latin for leader), as did Mussolini's preferred title, Duce.

The Doge was elected by a byzantine sequence of committees, and was considered the shrewdest elder in the city.  This system of leadership, designed to keep power away from the richest families, held for over a thousand years.

Le Départ du Bucentaure
Public DomainLe Départ du Bucentaure - Credit: Francesco Guardi





The idea of a daybed probably refers to the magnificently luxurious state barge, the bucentaur, on which the Doge travelled in great style, possibly with a daybed to recline on.  Four bucentaurs were built, each more splendid than the last, between 1311 and 1729.  The last was a floating palace of gold leaf and red velvet, 35 metres long, with places for 168 oarsmen.  When Napoleon took Venice in 1798, he ordered the vessel destroyed.