PALAZZO PUBBLICO (CITY HALL) OF SIENA
Hotel Siena Borgo Grondaie continues the study of the history of Siena talking about Palazzo Pubblico, whose development is closely linked to that of the Campo Square (Piazza del Campo).
The space of the square was used for fairs and markets until 1270 with the “Government of Twenty-Four Delegates”, but dropped this; the next “Government of the Nine” (1287-1355) began to think of a neutral location for the city government because until then the Council met inside churches or palaces of noble families. With the construction of the new building, the palace became the heart of any business and the big space that the building removed from the valley became the most important public place for all most significant events.
The original core of the building, consisting of a simple stone façade on one floor and with four breaches, was completed in 1284 and already included the Customs (oil and salt) and the Mint.
In 1297 it began the construction of the real central part of the building not so much different from what it is today and that is the ground floor in stone with four lancet openings, the first, the second and the last floor made of bricks with mullioned windows. The Guelph battlement is composed by nine merlons in memory of the glorious “Government of the Nine”. In this period the City issued a lot of laws (that are considered the earliest city plan of our time) in order to respect and standardize esthetic rules for anyone who intended to build a new building.
The main building dates back to 1305 and the extension of the same with the addition of two wings was completed in 1310 (during which the Government of Nine settled there), although the second floor of both wings was built in 1680 in the middle of the baroque era.
It ‘duty to mention an extension of the building carried on the right wing in 1325; thanks to this extension it was possible to use basements as prisons and provide a larger room for the Grand Council, later, in 1560, this room was transformed into a theater which still exists (Rinnovati Theater) after repeated repairs because of damage caused by numerous fires and earthquakes. The restructuring in 1325 allowed to give space to the storehouse for the salt (a very important substance at that time because the only one for food preservation and whose trade was of vital importance to the economy ofSiena). Today, these rooms are used for temporary art exhibitions.
Also in 1325 Siena began the construction of the Torre Del Mangia…. but that’s another story.
See you next time!
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Last Updated (Saturday, 19 January 2013 11:51)