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The construction of the palace for the Public Library was began by Jacopo Sansovino in 1537 under the orders of the Doge Andrea Gritti, in an area that was previously occupied by market stalls and lodgings. The ‘Library’ held the book collection of the Cardinal Bessarione, which was donated to the Republic in 1468 and became the public library of the State of the Veneto.

The construction of the Library began from the corner of the belltower, with a homogeneous and elegant profile: a continuous loggia above a ground floor portico, with triglyphs and metopes, and an upper loggia with freezes depicting putti and festoons of flowers and fruit. Above are three balustrades with three angular obelisques and statues of various classical divinities, the work of Alessandro Vittoria and other artists.

Jacopo Sansovino had initially designed a vaulted roof, but it seems that the vault collapsed during a violent storm in December 1545. The Senate immediately had him imprisoned and forced him to rebuild everything at his own expense. Sansovino then modified the original design, creating a roof terrace.

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