Palazzo Pubblico in Siena

18 agosto - palazzo pubblico

A symbol of the political power of the city of Siena for 700 years.

Palazzo Pubblico in Siena (also known as the Town Hall), is considered a perfect example of civil Gothic architecture worldwide.Built between 1297 and 1310 at the behest of the Government of the Nine of the Republic of Siena, it was the residence of the Signoria and the Podestà and still today a symbol of political power as the town hall. It’s the most important building in the city and the entire Piazza del Campo seems to lean towards it by sheer force of gravity.

The facade consists of four stories in the central body and three stories in the two side wings. So, the central body is raised one storey above the two side wings. At the top, supported by a cornice of round arches cadenced on bracket supports, are guelph-style crenellations, distinct from the Ghibelline swallow-tailed. Of the two empty belfries at the top, the left one was added in the 18th century to balance the symmetry.

In the centre of the facade, a large disk depicts the trigram of Christ (painted by Battista di Niccolò in 1425) conceived by Saint Bernardine of Siena. The Medici’s coat of arms was added below after the rule of the Florentine lords. Next to the coat of arms, between the triple lancet windows, are two other marble coats of arms: one is the city coat of arms and the other is the People’s Lion.

Inside, rooms that were used by multiple magistracies that administered the city over the centuries now house the Civic Museum and the Sienese municipal administration. The Torre del Mangia tower was added later and it got its name from the first bell-ringer Giovanni di Duccio (1347), who was nicknamed the Mangiaguadagni (profit eater). Meanwhile, the marble Piazza Chapel was built in 1352 to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for the end of the Black Death that plagued the city for a decade. On the left next to the chapel, is the Courtyard of the Podestà decorated with ancient coats of arms, which also serves as the entrance to the museum and the tower staircase.

Set against the splendid backdrop of the Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico and its tower are certainly among the most iconic and photographed sights of Siena, and you cannot miss the opportunity to admire them.


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