The Palace of the Podestà

Via Todini, 6, 58024 Massa Marittima GR, Italia

Simona Bertolaso

Massa Marittima


Palazzi, Ville e Castelli
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The Palazzo del Podestà, also known as the Palace of Justice or Praetorian Palace, is one of the buildings that overlook the Piazza del Duomo and was built in the middle of the 13th century following the constitution of the Free Commune of Massa Marittima (1225). The structure has not undergone any architectural changes, but the building, over time, has had very different functions. It was born as the seat of the Podestà, the highest authority of the town, and it was from here that the affairs of justice were administered. On the façade you can see a multitude of coats of arms and emblems of the families that followed one another in power, including the Balzana bianconera of Siena and the rampant lion. With the passing of time, the building also served as a magistrate’s court and prison until the 1970s. It currently houses the Archaeological Museum of Massa Marittima, organised in two main sections, the prehistoric and the Etruscan.
A curiosity:
On the façade of the building, next to the side flight of stairs that leads to the entrance door, you can notice two elements that at first glance would go unnoticed. A horizontal groove about 1.60 meters long and a large iron ring set in the travertine. The first is the so-called braccio massetano, the unit of measure at the time of the Free Commune. The other is the berlina, which was used to tie the condemned to be publicly displayed in the square.

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