The Palazzo Pubblico is the most striking building in the central square Piazza del Campo in Siena. It was built in the late 13th/early 14th century. It is one of the most famous Gothic buildings in Tuscany. Alternative names it is known by are Palazzo del Comune and Palazzo del Podestà. It is the seat of the Museo Civico.
Palazzo Pubblico Siena
Address: Piazza del Campo, Siena. Information about opening hours, etc. is available on the page dedicated to the Museo Civico of Siena.
History and description
The Palazzo Pubblico was built for the Governo dei Nove (“Government of the Nine”). In 1234, the reign of the Podestà, an absolute ruler elected by the people, came to an end. From then on until 1385, Siena had a municipal council, with a varying number of councillors. From 1286 to 1355, they numbered nine (nove, in Italian).
The original building was very small, with a number of stone arches. Later, side wings were added, followed by the upper floor and the nine square battlements. One for every councillor, in other words!
The construction of this Gothic palace lasted from 1288 to 1309. It consists of a three floor central section and two wings of two floors each.
The facade is further characterized by lancet windows and a large rose window with the monogram of Christ.
What to see
The doors and windows of the Palazzo Pubblico are decorated with the Balzana, the name given to the black and white coat of arms of Siena. This symbol refers to the mythical origins of the city. Persecuted by Romulus, the sons of Remus, Aschio and Senio, fled Roma on two horses, a white and a black one. Safely arrived on a hill, the founded Siena.
The gilded bronze she-wolf in front of the building was placed there by Turini in 1429.