The oldest palace in Lombardy, Palazzo Broletto lies in the heart of one of the most picturesque medieval cities. It is one of the first sites devoted to the exercise of democracy and justice, a home of the municipal administration and a place dedicated to the first town meetings since the eleventh century.
The Broletto is situated in Piazza della Vittoria and was built in the eighth century at the behest of St. Damian, bishop of Pavia. In 1189 the Communal began to occupy the building Maiori, in the East wing, in which it is possible to observe below the porch in the present time. The south wing was rebuilt in 1198, and was named ” Palatium Novum.” On the top floor you can see the large mullioned brick windows that are now hidden from the Renaissance loggia of Notaries.
In 1236 Bishop Rodobaldo Cipolla sold to the city the remaining part of the Episcopal Palace, which corresponds to the northern wing facing the square. This part of the building was radically transformed, with a ground floor porch and large arched windows on the upper floors. At the same time the Palace of Podesta was built, to the east of the new façade. The loggia of Notaries, leaning against the facade, dates back to the late fifteenth century, embellished with a magnificent fresco decoration.
The clock that adorns the facade dates back to 1872, while on the other hand lies some controversy in the story of the statue of Madonna, which overlooks the square of Camino del Broletto. In 1600 some artisans decided to dedicate a statue of the virgin. There were several different attempts in making this statue. The first attempt was with timber wood, and soon after it was remade in earthenware that saw the overlapping of various materials, including the sand of Ticino. For nearly three centuries, the statue stood in the entrance on the facade of the Broletto. In 1872 this was later moved to the crypt of the Cathedral where it would remain until 2002.
The building housed the City until 1875, when the municipal seat was moved to the Palace Mezzabarba.
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