The project conceived by Vincenzo Scamozzi involved the extension of the St Mark’s library (from which it takes some design guidelines) in order to create new offices for the procurators of San Marco. Work began in 1582, after the demolition of some old buildings, including the Ospizio Orseolo. The works were then halted in 1616 upon the death of the designer, and later taken up again in the 17th century under the direction of Baldassare Longhena. The building was finished in 1640, although some works to pave the arcades were carried out in 1740. 

After the fall of the Republic this place became a real center of power for the dominant forces of the area, first with the Napoleonic domination, during which it became the seat of the Royal Palace of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was enlarged during this period building to allow for the construction of the Grand Ballroom and the central staircase, all at the expense of the church of San Geminiano (Sansovino) that was demolished.

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