Stunning Palace of Priors in Viterbo
After the turbulent period of Pope’s domination, citizens of Viterbo struggled against the papal power in order to establish self-governance. The struggle was waged with varying success. Brief periods of independence alternated with years of obedience to papal authority.
An imposing ensemble of medieaval administrative edifices is situated on the central square – Piazza del Plebiscito and include the Palazzo dei Priori and Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. The medieaval administrative complex still hosts provincial and municipal governments.
The Palace of Priors was built in 1460 in order to host the office of the Governor of Province. In 1510, the Priors took possession of the building. The palace underwent numerous reconstructions and had acquired its present appearance in the middle of 16th century.
The façade of the palace is decorated by the portico (13th century) consisting of nine arches supported by eight columns. Two upper floors have a definitely Renaissance look with Guelf-cross windows on the first floor and arched ones on the second floor. In the center of the colonnade, there is a gate which leads to the courtyard.
We visited the sight for the first time late in the evening when the offices were closed. We entered the gate and found ourselves in an open gallery overlooking the valley. A lonely fountain was peacefully babbling in the middle of the terrace.
When we returned to the hotel, I read in a guidebook that the Palace of Priors hosts beautiful frescos and it is possible to enter the municipal office and observe them. Though, it seemed rather unfeasible to me, still we decided to make an attempt. We went there the next morning. Surprisingly easy, we got a permission to visit the sight. We were accompanied by an attendant who showed us several halls richly decorated by frescos and statues and a passage with paintings. He gave us only some minutes to observe the frescos and allowed to make only one photo in each room.
My previous posts about Viterbo