The Palazzo dei Priori of Assisi is located in the city’s central square Piazza del Comune. In addition to the town hall, the tourist office and is also located there. The Pinacotheque of Assisi, which was also located in the building for a few years in the early 20th century, has now moved to the Palazzo Vallemani.
Palazzo dei Priori Assisi
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
The address is Piazza del Comune, snc. Opening hours and admission price unknown.
History and description
The Priori were the city magistrates. In 1337 they bought the building next to the Palazzo del Popolo and had a vault built connecting the two palazzi. This vault was painted with grotesque figures by Raffaellino del Colle in 1556 and would come to be called Volta Pinta.
The buildings’s rather irregular facade clearly indicates that it originally consisted of four smaller buildings.
At the end of the 15th century, when Sixtus IV della Rovere was pope, the building was thoroughly restored.
It consisted of an underground section (which was actually on the same level as the ancient Roman street), then came the first floor where the Monte di Pietà, founded in 1468, was housed and finally an upper floor where the Priori had their residence.
On the top floor hangs a plaque placed there in 1542 by Giovanni Andrea Cruciani commemorating the division of Assisi into terzieri. (A terziere was a district of a city divided into three districts.) The coats of arms of the persons who had authority over these districts are depicted on it. Besides Cruciani himself these were Pope Paul III Farnese and the cardinals Ascanio Parisani and Alessandro Farnese. Before this division Assisi consisted of five districts, one for each city gate.
In 1860, after the unification of Italy, some of the inner walls of the Palazzo dei Priori were demolished to better accommodate the municipal administration.
The paintings in the reception hall are by Alessandro Venanzi and date from 1870. As subjects they have the various castles and villas of Assisi itself. Among these paintings one can see a band with the coats of arms of the most important families of the city at that time.
In the center of the vault, the coat of arms of Assisi is depicted, with a silver cross and a golden lion on a blue background.
The decorations in the Sala del Consiglio (“Council Hall”) date from the early 20th century. The architect and painter Carlo Gino Venanzi was responsible for both the wooden furniture and the allegorical frescoes on the ceiling, which depict Education, Charity, Labor and Cleanliness extolling Unity in a time of Justice and Freedom. Eighteen lunettes are decorated with portraits of noteable characters. The pendentives are decorated with the coats of arms of the most important cities of Umbria.