The Palazzo di Venezia (formerly Palace of St. Mark) is a palazzo (palace) in central Rome
, just north of the Capitoline Hill. The original structure of this great architectural complex consisted of a modest medieval house intended as the residence of the cardinals appointed to the Church of San Marco
. In 1469 it became a residential papal palace, having undergone a massive extension, and in 1564, Pope Pius IV, to win the sympathies of the Republic of Venice
, gave the mansion to the ambassadors of La Serenissima on condition that a part of the building should be kept as a residence for the cardinals—the Apartment Cibo—and that the Venetian Republic should provide for the building's maintenance and future restoration. The palazzo faces Piazza Venezia
and Via del Plebiscito. It currently houses the National Museum of the Palazzo Venezia.
The building became a papal residence, and in 1564 Pope Pius IV gave use of much of the building to the Republic of Venice for its embassy and for the titular cardinal of S. Marco, by tradition always a Venetian.
From the Treaty of Campoformio (1797) throughout the nineteenth century, as Austria
succeeded the defunct Republic, the building was the seat for the Austrian ambassador to the Vatican.
In 1916, Italy, at war with Austria-Hungary
, seized the building. It was subsequently restored. Benito Mussolini had his office in the Sala del Mappamondo, and used a balcony in the palazzo for delivering many of his most notable speeches, such as the declaration of the Italian Empire, 9 May 1936, to crowds gathered in the Piazza Venezia below.
The Museo del Palazzo di Venezia, housed in the building, contains galleries of art, predominantly pottery, tapestry, statuary from the early Christian era up to early Renaissance.