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Before the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte, the deceased Venetians were buried adjacent to the parish church they belonged to - as the nizioleti of campi and calli still remember today - and only benefactors and nobles could have the privilege of being buried in monumental tombs, whether they churches or cloisters.

With the edict of Sant-Cloud of 12 June 1804, the island of San Cristoforo della Pace was chosen, positioned in front of the Fondamenta Nuove, as the ideal place to host the city cemetery, being able to guarantee the burial of the deceased at the outside the inhabited center and therefore hygiene. This decision involved the demolition of the pre-existing church and monastery; the construction of the monumental complex, which was not particularly appreciated by the people, was entrusted to Gianantonio Selva.

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