PALAZZO COMUNALE OR DEI PRIORI
Viterbo City of Art – VISIT TO THE MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS OF VITERBO
PALAZZO DEI PRIORI
Started in 1460 to house the new headquarters of the Governor of the Province of Heritage, who took possession in 1510 the Priors. It underwent many changes and alterations in appearance and was completed today in the mid-sixteenth century. Above the portico of the thirteenth century front consists of nine arches supported by eight columns, stands the impressive Renaissance facade with two windows: a cross Guelph those of the first floor, with shelves of the second arc. At the center of the palace stands the great arms of Pope Sixtus V ° Della Rovere, the financial backer last opera (1481). From the door to the center of the colonnade leads from the garden to the valley bordered by a beautiful balustrade Faul peperino (the typical stone construction Viterbo) and adorned with an elegant fountain, carved in 1626 to a design by Filippo Caparozzi Viterbo. In 1541 the porch was built and in 1632 inside and above the porch was covered by a roof supported by slender columns with Corinthian capitals. The lateral wing of the palace was built in 1691. At the internal staircase that leads upstairs to visit the palaces, you can admire an Etruscan sarcophagus of the third century BC with scenes of battle and the ancient coat of arms “FAVL”, supported by 2 lions.
The current home of the municipal offices was erected in 1264 as the Palazzo of the Capitano del popolo. Later, the location underwent several restorations, and in 1700, a large balcony was added on the first floor. Few traces remain from the ancient façade. The Palace overlooks the Clock Tower (formerly called Tower Monaldeschi) which was rebuilt without the original battlements in 1487 after the destruction of the more ancient structure. The clock tower is slender, 44 meters high, and is enhanced by a beautiful ceramic dial and embellished with aristocratic coats of arms in peperino stone. At the top, there is an ancient bell which was forged in 1452 and was installed on an artistic wrought iron cage. You can access Palazzo dei Priori by via Ascenzi n 1, or by passing through the Art Gallery. On the first floor there are two large ceramic panels (donated by the masters of Deruta) that depict the long conclave (1269) for the election of Pope Gregory X. It shows the papal palace roofless and includes 5 popes that have been elected in Viterbo.
SALA REGIA (o Erculea)
At the end of 1500, Baldassare Croce from Bologna painted the great hall of the town. On the ceiling, Tarquinio Licustri from Viterbo painted castles and land that belonged to the city. The panels that adorn the walls depict the mythical and fantastic origins, of the city, and local historical events. Two large panels depict the topographical Roman Tuscia land donated by the Countess Matilda of Tuscany to the Church and includes the names of the villages and cities of the time. There are also 36 medallions that portray famous people from Viterbo.
THE PICTURE GALLERY
The recent restoration has enabled the city to transform a simple connecting hallway between the two buildings, in an area full of rich and historical content. The paintings that adorn the wall around the two doors are the work of Rolando di Gaetani from Viterbo. They depict the necropolis of Castel d’Asso in the fascinating, legendary, night-time story with Hercules fighting the Nemean lion, two caytaids that symbolically reproduce the dualism of day/night and water/fire. The emblem in the painting contains the word FAVL which represents the initials of the four Etruscan villages (Fanum, Arbanum, Vetulonia, and Longola). The story tells of how king Desiderio united the 4 villages inside the city walls of Viterbo (Castrum Viterbii). There is an iconic collection from the Academy of Ardenti on the walls. The paintings are of great interest and date back to the XVII and XIX centuries. They represent the faces of people who gave luster and impetus to the Academy.
THE PALATINE CHAPPEL
The construction works began in the year of 1599. After 1610, the paintings, the decorations, the placement of the beautiful door with wooden panels, and the installation of the elegantly gilded and carved wooden ceiling were built. The four frescoes are dedicated to the story of the Virgin, and they were painted by Filippo Cavarozzi from Viterbo and by Marzio Ganassino from Rome. The stucco and the altar were built by Giovanni Antonio Spinzio from Rome. At the top of the wall at the entrance, there is a painted frame showing the saints and the blessed from Viterbo. On the wall to the right of the entrance, there is a coat of arms that represents the martyrdom of San Lorenzo, the patron of the city. On the other side, there are the remains of another coat of arms that represent the church of S. Angelo in front of Priori Palazzo with the sarcophagus of Bella Galiana. The altarpiece depicts the Visitation made by the great painter Bartolomeo Cavarozzi (1622) from Viterbo.
Traduzione di Cher Hale, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Studentessa del programma USAC presso Università degli studi della Tuscia.