As you step onto San Marco Square, you become aware of two structures. They run the length of both north and south sides. These are the Procuratie. They were the former residences and offices of the Procurators of St. Mark. These men held considerable power. They were responsible for the upkeep and administration of large chunks of property in, around and beyond the Square. The Procuratie Nuove was the second Procuratie to appear on the Square. Work began on the Procuratie Nuove in 1582. The force behind it was Scamozzi. He was a pupil of Palladio and emulated Sansovino. This is obvious in the neo-Classical design.
Its pure exterior, however, masks an ornate and even lavish interior. The Procuratie Nuove was finished in 1640 by Baldassare Longhena. It was taken over by Napoleon in 1797. He decided to make the upper story his home. He added a ballroom. After his departure, the Procuratie Nuove became home to Austrian Governors and the Kings of Italy. More recently it has housed the Museo Correr and the Museo Archeologico. The Royal Apartments, however, are still available for use by the President of Italy. You cannot visit them. Yet, you can sit and enjoy the view from one of the many cafés operating out of the ground floor. If you stay in a discount hotel near the Procuratie Nuove in Venice, you may also be able to afford to shop there. The Procuratie and Square are home to many small and select shops.
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