The Piazza del Plebiscito is the central and most important square of Viterbo. Some of the city’s most important buildings are located along this square, including the Town Hall.
Piazza del Plebiscito Viterbo
History and description
The Piazza del Plebiscito has been the central square of Viterbo since the 13th century and is still referred to by its inhabitants with the old name Piazza del Comune. Since its construction, it has been the main political and administrative center of Viterbo.
It is located where the cemetery of the Sant’Angelo in Spatha Church used to be. The space around the square is still occupied by the municipal offices of Viterbo.
The Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo is the seat of the city’s Prefecture. It is also referred to as the Palazzo della Prefettura.
At the beginning of the Via Roma and the Via San Lorenzo are two sculpted lions, symbols of the city of Viterbo. This, according to legend, has to do with the fact that Hercules, who is said to have founded the city, was usually depicted with a lion’s skin over his shoulders. (The coat of arms of Viterbo shows a lion killed by Hercules).
In fact, during the battle between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs, Viterbo sided with the pope (the Guelphs), and, like similar cities, took the lion as its symbol. Ghibelline cities usually opted for the eagle.
A palm tree (the symbol of the ancient city of Ferento) is also depicted near the lion at the foot of the tower. After Ferento had been destroyed and plundered by the inhabitants of Viterbo, the palm tree was integrated to remember the victory.