Smaller parishes were amalgamated, and some of the more prominent mendicant churches, such as the Frari and San Francesco della Vigna, were converted into parish churches. The religious orders and scuole were ruthlessly suppressed, and their property seized and redistributed. Many of their finest works of art were sold or removed to France, while monastic churches, nunneries and friaries were demolished or put to use as warehouses, mills or ammunition dumps.3 These iconoclastic aspects of the Napoleonic administration in Venice are well known. It is perhaps less often realized that they went hand in hand with policies of a more constructive and enlightened kind, intended to improve the urban environment of the city, though these, too, were implemented with little sensitivity. By its very nature Venice was ill- adapted to the ideals of neo-classical city planning fostered in Napoleon’s dominions. There was far too little space on the archipelago for broad, straight avenues and imposing public monuments. By no stretch of the imagination could Venice be made to resemble Paris or Milan. Of course, these ideals were not all ill-conceived.
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