The balcony at Palazzo Venezia has been cleaned and restored. The restoration was commissioned by the ministry for cultural heritage after Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano asked to view the balcony while attending the exhibition Due Emperi: l'Aquila e il Dragone in Palazzo Venezia.
The balcony was found to be in a state of neglect and had been used as storage for museum equipment. Museum officials are now considering opening the balcony to the public as part of the museum visit.
Most famously associated with Benito Mussolini, the balcony leads off the building's Sala del Mappamondo which was used by Mussolini as an office. It was from here that he delivered many of his most notable speeches, including the declaration of the Italian Empire on 9 May 1936, and his declaration of war on France and Britain on 10 June 1940.
Palazzo Venezia was commissioned by Cardinal Pietro Barbo (later Pope Paul II) and was built between 1454 and 1467. Initially a papal residence, it was later used as the embassy of the Republic of Venice, from which it gained its name. Towards the end of the 18th century, the building became property of Austria, in whose possession it rested until 1916 when Italy, then at war with Austria-Hungary, seized control of the building.
Currently home to a national museum, the Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia hosts exhibitions throughout the year.
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