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Piazza Venezia with Palazzo Venezia and Medieval Tower

With this building the Renaissance made a timid debut into civil architecture. Construction of the palace was begun in 1455 by Pietro Barbo, who required a palace worthy of his rank as cardinal. When he became Pope in 1464 as Paul II he continued his project on a larger scale. In 1471, the Pope died before the house was finished. In 1564 Pius IV gave the palace its present name and allowed the ambassadors of the Republic of Venice to lodge in part of the building. Following the Treaty of Campoformio between Austria and Napoleaon in 1797, the Republic of Venice ceased to exist and almost all its property (including Palazzo Venezia) reverted to Austria. In 1806, by order of Napoleaon the palace became the seat of the French administration. During the Fascist era, Mussolini set up the Grand Council of Fascism and his office in this palace; he used to address the crowds gathered in the piazza from the palace balcony. Now Palazzo Venezia is one of the most prestigious buildings in the capital, housing a museum and the library of the Institute of Art and Archaeology. There is a pre-existing medieval tower nearby.


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Last Revised September 28, 2007

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