The Città dei Papi, or “City of Popes,” as Viterbo‘s nickname used to be because so many popes took refuge there, naturally needed homes for these influential gentlemen. To this are added the buildings erected by the municipality itself, which together form the Palazzi Comunali.
Historic buildings Viterbo
Palazzo dei Papi
The Palazzo dei Papi is the most famous building in Viterbo. It is here that the very first conclave in history was held. This was also immediately the longest conclave in history. Highlights are the auditorium and the Loggia delle Benedizioni from where the Pope used to bless the crowd.
Palazzo dei Priori
The second famous building in Viterbo is the Palazzo dei Priori, which was built in the 15th century and serves as the city’s town hall. It is connected by a corridor to the Palazzo del Podestà and together the two buildings are called the Palazzi Comunali.
Palazzo del Podestà
The Palazzo del Podestà is the second of the municipal buildings in the Piazza del Plebiscito. It was constructed in the 13th century, but remodeled so many times that it hardly resembles the original. The bell tower was erected two years later.
The Rocca Albernoz is an ancient castle located just inside the city walls. It was built by followers of the Pope, destroyed several times and rebuilt several times to end up as the seat of the Etruscan Museum.
The Palazzo Farnese is a historic building in the Via San Lorenzo. It was built by a noble family, a member of which would later become Pope Paul III. t is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
Palazzo Doria Pamphili
The Palazzo Doria Pamphili is located in San Martino al Cimino, a suburb built in the 17th century outside the built-up area of Viterbo. The palace has such a unique shape that it could have been designed by Borromini, which it probably was, since the commissioner was his maecenas, Pope Innocenzo X.
The Casa Poscia is an example of a typical medieval house, with a picturesque profferlo (an external staircase leading up to a balcony). It was also once home to a beautiful young lady who suffered an unpleasant fate.
The Palazzo Chigi is a historical building with a beautiful courtyard in the Via Chigi. Its main point of interest is a series of wall paintings by the brothers Zuccari. There is also a portrait of a member of the Chigi family, who manage to become Pope.
Palazzo degli Alessandri
The Palazzo degli Alessandri is located in the Piazza San Pellegrino. It is named after an influential local family. When this family was banned from Viterbo, the Pope made sure that the palazzo was not demolished.
Palazzo di Valentino della Pagnotta
The Palazzo di Valentino della Pagnotta stands next to the Palazzo dei Papi in the Piazza San Lorenzo. It was built in the 15th century, but its Gothic decorations and pointed arch openings resemble those of its 13th century neighbor.
The Palazzo Santoro (15th century) in the Piazza Verdi is now the seat of the City Hall.