Italian Palace

Two-storey stone palace facing the River Fontanka. Built by Nicola Michetti (1721–23). Reconstructed by Mikhail Zemtsov for Count Ernst Johann von Biron (1726–28). After Biron was arrested and exiled (November 1740), accommodated civil servants of the Crown Lands Department. Housed war orphans (1796). Paul I presented the building to the Catherine Institute for Noble Girls (1800) – a school for girls from poorer aristocratic families founded by Empress Maria Fyodorovna (1798). The old dilapidated palace was dismantled and replaced by a new building by Giuseppe Bernardazzi based on a design by Giacomo Quarenghi (1803–07). Two adjoining wings were added (1823).

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