Procuratie

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St Mark's Square showing the Procuratie Nuove on the left, the Napoleonic Wing ahead and the Procuratie Vecchie to the right.

The Procuratie (literally, "procuracies") are three connected buildings on St Mark's Square in Venice. They are also connected to St Mark's Clocktower. They are historic buildings over arcades, the last of them completed, to finish off the square, under Napoleon's occupation.

The oldest of the buildings is the Procuratie Vecchie on the north side of the Square, built as a two-storey structure in the twelfth century, to house the offices and apartments of the procurators of San Marco. They were rebuilt after a fire in the sixteenth century to a three-storey design by Codussi which still betrays something of its Gothic roots.

The Procuratie Nuove, on the south side of the Square was begun in 1586 by Vincenzo Scamozzi in a more strictly Classical style and completed by Longhena in 1640, designed to afford more space to offices connected with the procurators.

The two buildings originally had wings on the west side of the Square, separated only by a small church. In about 1810, the wings and the church were demolished and replaced by the third building, the Napoleonic Wing of the Procuraties. It was designed by Giuseppe Maria Soli in a Neoclassical manner.

In the neoclassical interiors so out of character in Venice, were housed the Napoleonic governor after the fall of the Republic, then the Austrian governor, then they were reserved for the use of the kings of Italy and now the President of the Italian Republic receives in them if he is in Venice. The Procuratie Vecchie and the Procuratie Nuove house old, famous and expensive coffee houses, cheek-by-jowl: Gran Caffè Quadri, Caffè Florian, which opened its doors December 29, 1720, and Caffè Lavena, in the same premises since the mid-18th century; it was Richard Wagner's favorite. Above, many a Venetian family whose Ca might be a long gondola ride from the Piazza, kept a small apartment for entertaining called a ridotto, the scenes of paintings of fashionable life by Alessandro Longhi. The ridotti were extremely fashionable in Venice. As much care and taste went into the furnishings and stuccoed and painted decor of the ridotti as were expended on the palazzi of Venice themselves.

Today, the Napoleonic Wing and part of the Procuratie Nuove house the Correr Museum.

Coordinates: 45°26′3″N 12°20′16″E / 45.43417°N 12.33778°E / 45.43417; 12.33778