<p>The Procuratie Vecchie</p>

The Procuratie Vecchie

One of Venice’s most iconic landmarks open to public for first time

The recognisable St Mark’s Square building can now be explored, including its rooftop

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 20 April 2022 15:28
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City break favourite Venice has a newly opened sight to visit, after the Procuratie Vecchie opened its doors following a five-year restoration project.

The historic building, which stretches along the north side of St Mark’s Square, opened to the public on 13 April for the first time in its more than 500-year history.

For many, it’s always simply been one side of the iconic Venice piazza, under which they may have sipped a coffee in one of the cafes facing the other buildings.

In the early 16th century, this long, distinctive, portico-laced building once formed the headquarters of the Procurator of St Mark, a high-ranking role second only to the Doge.

It has since served as the headquarters for insurance company Generali, and had its Royal Gardens opened to the public in 1920.

It’s now been renovated by David Chipperfield Architects, with Sir David Chipperfield saying in a statement: “This is a building with a monumental presence in a monumental square which the whole world loves. It is part of the only big civic space in Venice. It’s got an amazingly theatrical presence.”

Local craftspeople were employed to polish the flooring, restore walls and ceilings using the traditional techniques of pastellone, terrazzo, marmorino and scialbatura.

For tourists in the city, it’s likely to be of most interest for its free rooftop viewing point, which is open every day except Tuesdays.

The inside of the building is open Wednesday to Monday each week, 1am-pm, with the last admission at 6pm.

It’ll also give a home to an organisation called The Human Safety Net, which aims to promote discussion about social innovation and will have a cafe and an exhibition on hand for visitors to explore. The exhibition, it says, is “an immersive experience to understand and connect with their potential, by exploring their own character strengths and enabling them to see the best qualities in the people around them.”

There’s also a striking wire-mesh art installation by Edoardo Tresoldi, “Monumento”, in the stairwell for art fans.

In March, some Venice hoteliers began supplying their visitors with water pistols in a bid to ward off pesky pigeons around its outdoor restaurants.

The manager of the Monaco & Grand Canal hotel said he decided to take action after a gull snatched a croissant out of a guest’s hand as he was lifting it to his mouth.

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