The Royal Gardens of San Marco are of relatively recent origins, dating back to the 19th century, when Venice fell into the hands of the French with the Treaty of Campo Formio. 

There were numerous changes to San Marco area during the Napoleonic period, including the demolition of the church of San Geminiano, designed by famous architect Sansovino. This decision was made by Eugene Beauharnais, viceroy of Italy, who, despite already living in St Mark’s Square where the Procuratori worked during the Serenissima, was thrilled to expand his home and built the Napoleonic Wing on the ruins of the church - a prestigious building featuring an imposing entrance staircase and a wonderful hall for dances and balls. The innovations of the time are represented in the different uses of the Marciana National Library (which became a place of importance) and the reduction of importance of the Doge's Palace, which fell from being the Doge's residence to become a mere container of the offices of the Exchange, the Chamber of Commerce and of the Marciana National Library.       

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