Palazzo Pretorio

Palazzo Pretorio (G. Bettini, Comune di Pisa)
Palazzo Pretorio (G. Bettini, Comune di Pisa)

The Government building or palazzo Pretorio, Headquarters of the Government Auditor and the Civil and Criminal Chancery, was one of the buildings involved in the process of renovation undertaken in the 18th and 19th centuries, that aimed to alter the medieval appearance of the town. This building too, was built by combining several medieval buildings. In 1785, when it became necessary to occupy part of it with prisons, opinion in Pisa was divided between the idea of keeping the medieval structures, with large gothic style mullioned windows on the first floor, and a triple loggia on the second floor, and that of adapting it to the new style, already visible in the nearby Logge di Banchi. Because no agreement could be reached it was decided to put the question aside for a while and to simply raise the height of the ancient tower (Torre della Giustitzia) to make the clock tower (Torre dell’Orologio). The plan to completely transform the building was only approved in 1821, to bring into line it with the other buildings already modernised on the Lungarnos. The new façade was made in rusticated Tuscan stone, emphasizing horizontal lines, and the base of the tower was aligned with the facade. The front was decorated with a marble frieze by Michele Van Lint that recounted the Grand Dukes’ glories and the ancient grandeur of the city.
Bombing 1944 destroyed the bridge (ponte di Mezzo) and almost totally demolished the building. It was reconstructed in 1953 by Sanpaolesi, who only partially based it on Gherardesca’s design. The ground floor loggia was extended to the whole length of the building and the clock tower was built taller.

Last update: 15/07/2020
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