On the south side of Piazza San Marco, beside the clock tower is the Procuratie Vecchie. Like the Procuratie Nuove opposite it, this building housed the offices and residences of the Procurators of St. Mark. This originally 2 story structure was built in the 12th century. It was rebuilt in the 15th century by Mauro Codussi but completed by Bartolomeo Bon and Jacopo Sovino by 1538. During this renovation, the building took its final shape. Three levels rose above the square, all were arcaded. 50 arches spanned the ground floor with 100 windows prominent for the 2 upper floors.
The Procuratie had different levels of usage. The arcades on the ground floor housed various shops. They included and still house various cafés. The most prominent among them were the still existing Quadri and L’Avena. The upper floors were apartments to the aristocracy. The Byzantine and Gothic façade was uniform. Yet, this hid a secret. The apartments had individual and hidden entrances to guarantee the privacy of all who lived there. Tenants included Jacopo Sansovina. If you can, do find a hotel near the Procuratie Vecchie in Venice. It will give you the opportunity to explore San Marco. You can then sit and relax, soaking up the ambience of the many elegant cafés and boutiques.
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