Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo Orvieto

The Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo is the main building in the Piazza del Capitano del Popolo in Orvieto. It was built in the 13th century and has had various functions over the centuries. The square itself hosts a market twice a week.

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo Orvieto

History and description

Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo Orvieto
Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo

The most important building in the Piazza del Capitano del Popolo is the Palazzo del Popolo, built in the 13th century, characterized by its impressive battlements.

During the Middle Ages, the palace was the seat of the Capitano del Popolo, who represented the interests of the common people in negotiations with the aristocracy. After this office was created in 1250, it was also necessary to construct a sufficiently imposing building for the “Captain of the People.”

As a result, a number of existing buildings were razed to the ground in order to construct first the square and then the palazzo. The construction of the square lasted from 1281 to 1284. The commissioner was Ranieri della Greca, who himself also served twice as Capitano del Popolo.

The construction of the Palazzo del Popolo itself was completed in the early 14th century.

From 1292 to 1319, when they got their own building, the magistrates used to meet here. From 1398 to 1408 the building was in the hands of the papal bishops, and after this it came into the hands of the Podestà.

Later it had other functions, first as the seat of a university of law and theology, then as a theater and finally as a congress and exhibition building.

In the 20th century, during maintenance work inside the palace, ruins of an Etruscan temple from the 5th century BC were found.

The architecture of the building served as an example for a number of later palaces in the city. Especially recurrent are the arches on the first floor and the typical window frames.

Notable are the tower on the right side of the palace and the huge staircase leading to the entrance on the other side.

Next to the main hall is a terrace, providing a magnificent view of the square.

The Piazza del Capitano del Popolo is located just north of the Torre del Moro. A market is held in this square every Thursday and Sunday.

Palazzo del Popolo, Orvieto

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