There can be no doubt that the new Michailoff palace, the late residence of the emperor's younger brother, is the most elegant building in St. Petersburg. It was built in 1820, by an Italian architect named Rossi. The interior is also decidedly the handsomest and most tasteful in decoration and furniture of all the royal residences. Its position, too, is highly striking—quite as much so as that of the Winter palace. Open on all sides, it expands its wings and courtyards in a most graceful manner; not a tower, house, or any other building, being near to disturb its outline.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855