The Piazza del Gesù is a square in the center of Viterbo. Before the new Palazzi Comunali were built, it was much more important, since the city’s town hall used to be located there. It is one of the most pleasant squares of the city to sit down at one of the various cafes and enjoy the laid back atmosphere.
Piazza del Gesù Viterbo
History and description
Until the new town hall was built in the Piazza del Plebiscito (1270), it used to be located on the left side of Piazza del Gesù. This Palazzo del Comune was located where the Torre del Borgognone now is.
The Torre del Borgognone is so named because the foot length of Mr. Borgognone – his print is shown at the base of the tower – used to be the unit of length in the city.
In the church across the square, Henry of Cornwall (Enrico di Cornovaglia) was murdered on March 13, 1271. This church is now called the Chiesa del Gesù, but was known at the time as Chiesa di San Silvestre.
There probably used to be a fountain dating back to the 14th century in the square. It came into the possession of the Chigi family in the 18th century, who had it repaired. At the beginning of the 20th century it was replaced by a fountain designed by Giovanni Pizzichetti. The lower basin is supported by a pilaster while the upper, smaller one, rests on a lower railing decorated with sculptures of animals.