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Piazza Venezia

Venezia’s Square was reconstructed between 1885 and 1911 to commemorate Italian unification and honour Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of united Italy.
The first arrangement of the square was narrower and in Reinassance style. But the current appearance of the square is quite entirely owed above all after the building of the Vittoriano complex; it became large and monumental.   
 
It was originally called “Piazza di San Marco” or “della Conca di San Marco” because of a large granite vessel discovered to the Caracalla baths used as fountain and located in front of the Basilica of San Marco.
 
The name of the square comes from the palace that was built in 1455 as a private residence of the Venetian cardinal Pietro Barbo who then became the Pope with the name of Paolo II.
In 1564 it was the seat of the Venetian Republic Embassy and even since the Palace was called “Palazzo Venezia” and the square “Piazza Venezia”.  
 
The Palace was enlarged in 1467 with the new façade of the San Marco basilica. 
It became a work of various masters of those days. During the century the palace was used as prestigious residence: papal residence, Venetian Republic Embassy and Austrian property after Napoleon’s fall.

 
After the First World War the Palazzo Venezia was acquired by the Italian government. Benito Mussolini used the building as his headquarter and addressed the people from the palace's balcony.

 

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