Palazzo Gambacorti, corso Italia

Palaxio nuovo da Ponte di Mezzo - Palazzo Gambacorti  (L. Corevi)
Palaxio nuovo da Ponte di Mezzo - Palazzo Gambacorti (L. Corevi)
Defined Pallaxio in the documents of the time, it was built near the church of San Sebastiano in Kinzica (now disappeared). The construction dates back to c. 1370, built at the behest of Pietro Gambacorti, Lord of the city. The façade is a splendid example of gothic civil architecture, with elegant trefoil mullioned windows harmonised by alternating bands of Verrucana stone, limestone of San Giuliano and sandstone. On the top floor we notice two Pisan crosses, symbols of the Maritime Republic. In the Medici period the palace was the seat of the Customs and the Sea Consuls. Around 1620, the eastern wing was built to host the Teatro delle Commedie (Comedy Theatre) of the city, now lost. In 1689, the Consuls moved to via San Martino and the Pallaxio became the seat of the Priori and for the occasion the staircase of via Toselli was inaugurated and the interiors were decorated with rich frescoes, such as the Allegory of Pisa paying homage to San Ranieri by the Melani brothers and the cycle of the Hall of the Balearics (G. Fardella, Pier Dandini). In the 19th century, it was again restored and decorated in its interior in a neo-medieval style.
The Medici in the Palace: in 1429 the Signoria of Florence, in an attempt to erase the traces of the noble Pisan families, moved into the palace the Customs office (on the ground floor) and the Magistracy of the Sea Consuls (on the first floor). After a brief interruption during the second Pisan republic (1494-1509) Cosimo I restored the service of the Magistracy, reorganising the interior spaces: the ground floor was destined to the Magistracy of Ditches, while the first floor was left to the Consuls, who in any case controlled all the procedures related to Customs. In the 17th century, the works went on with the creation of the façade in via Toselli (formerly via dell'Olmo), attributed to Pietro Francavilla, whose style is visible in the marble decorations of the great portal, surmounted by the Medici coat of arms, but largely made by Cosimo Pugliani. It was with Ferdinand II that the Comedy Theatre was inaugurated inside the palace in 1620.
The donkey in the Gambacorti hall: Pietro Gambacorti was a key figure of the Pisan fourteenth century, able to bring together the most important representatives of Europe to Pisa to create a unitary Italian state, an attempt that failed due to the disputes between Florence and Milan. Pietro was killed during the conspiracy of the Appiani, whose representative, Jacopo Appiani, was often defined as a man of low intelligence. His residence was the current Palazzo Spinola, on the Lugarno Mediceo. Jacopo, despite being a protégé of Gambacorti, aspired to the ruling of Pisa, and the only way to obtain it was to conspire against Pietro, killing him by treason on the Ponte di Mezzo in 1392. Later Jacopo entered the palace and took possession of it, proclaiming himself Lord of the city. We do not know the reason but, where Pietro had his large coat of arms painted, in the Gothic wing of the building, on the top floor, Jacopo had a painting made depicting a donkey with an inscription below: Asino sono e con il mio sapere gli altri stan ritti ed io a sedere (I am a donkey and with my knowledge the others stand upright and I sit down).
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