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Palazzo Pretorio

Pretorio-photo: http://digilander.libero.it/pistoia_tour/

The medieval appearance that the building has today is the result of renovation carried out in the mid nineteenth century. Because the old building had fallen into a state of disrepair, the City Council decided to completely restore it and entrusted the project to the architect Giuseppe Faldi.

The palazzo was enlarged to include the neighboring properties that were thus unified in a single building. The front, with its double windows, was raised one floor and, to hide the differences in construction, the façade was covered with a plaster that imitated stonework. Even the old coats of arms were rearranged. It was a specific cultural choice, in Risorgimento times, to evoke the Middle Ages as the period of Pistoia's greatest splendor.

After the year 1300 when documents tell us that the building was used for the first time, the palazzo was lived in by the city administrators of justice: in Medieval times, the governor and, under Medici rule, the Fiorentine commissaries.

In the early 1800s, after the abolition of the mayoral magistracies, the palazzo became the seat of the Collegiate Court of Justice and a few years later, of the Royal Court of Pleas. These changes created new needs that the old building was unable to meet and so the renovation and enlargement mentioned previously were approved.

The original building was centered around the square courtyard and corresponds today to the first four windows on the left, under which one sees the doorway aligned on a central axis. In the 1300s a new addition was made to accommodate the guards' living quarters, the prisons and the stables. Public cases were heard in the inner courtyard and today we still see the high-backed stone benches that the judges sat on (the ones seen now date from the early 1500s). Adornig the colonnade, the tempera or fresco decoration depicting the governors' and commisaries' coats of arms was begun in the fifteenth century but completed, in the same style, by Bartolomeo Valiani, Ferdinando Marini, and Aurelio Macho in the 18OOs.

The deep sense of local pride that informed the restoration work of these artists led them to add some scenes commemorating the most glorious moments of the city's history. The stairs to the right of the entrance lead to private apartments as well as to the great hall on the second floor which today is used for hearings.

Opening hours:
Visitable on demand

For further informations:
Tel: +39 0573371362

Web site:
Comune di Pistoia

Piazza del Duomo, 51100 Pistoia (PT)
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