The Podestà used to be the highest civil office for the government of the northern and central cities of medieval Italy. There are many palaces in these areas called "Palace of the Podestà". This one in Bologna was built around 1200, at the same time as Plaza Mayor to carry out public functions and as the headquarters for the Podesta and its officials. The current view of the palace is very different from the original one because of the later construction of King Enzo's Palace. It's a large building crossed by two streets which pass under the Podestà Voltone, under which stands the Tower dell'Arengo. The tower's bell used to warn the village residents during extraordinary events. Under the Voltone del Podesta, an extraordinary acoustic effect allows visitors to talk to each other even in a low voice from opposite angles. The lower part of the palace is decorated with hundreds of different floral tiles.
The Palazzo d'Accursio is also known as the Communal Palace because it is the seat of the Municipality of Bologna. The Palazzo d'Accursio includes a complex of buildings that have been united for centuries. In 1336, it became the headquarters of the Anziani ("old"), the highest magistrates of the community, and later the seat of government. In the 15th century, it was restored by Fioravante Fioravanti, adding, among other things, the Clock Tower. The facade features a 15th century terracotta Madonna and Child by Niccolò dell'Arca, up at the top. In the entrance you can see a large bronze statue of Pope Gregory XIII. It is one of the most beautiful buildings around the Piazza Maggiore, and definitely worth taking a look.
Interestingly enough, the name of this building derives from the Basque ball game that was played on one of its lawns. This grand palace was built by the Farnese family between 1583 and 1622. Complete with three palaces, it also houses three museums: The National Archaeological, the National Gallery, the Bodoni Museum, the Palatine Library, the School of Art and the impressive Teatro Farnese. It's so big that the construction took and cannot be attributed to any particular architect. If you only have a short time, then you cannot possibly explore all of its museums, however I recommend a quick visit to the interesting Farnese Theatre.
The Palazzo dei Diamanti ("Palace of Diamonds") is named for the diamond shaped stone blocks on the facade. It is a very famous building and is always mentioned in the city guidebooks. It currently houses the National Gallery. The collection of paintings is mostly school of Ferrara, which became popular in second half of the fifteenth century, with Tura, the dei Roberto Cossa. Some of the sixteenth century ferrarenses masters are Lorenzo Costa and Dosso Dossi, who was the most prominent, and Girolamo da Carpi and Benvenuto Tisio (il Garofalo). When Ferrara paintings were moved to the Vatican, many Renaissance paintings moved to Modena and to this gallery.
It is such a lovely city for walking. We were there in the summer and the streets were almost empty. We walked through the gates and saw the main sites of the city, except the cathedral because it was closed. Well, we have an excuse to return to Modena because the city is well-worth a second visit.
It sits right on the Large Square. It was constructed in 1245 as an extension of the buildings of the Palace del Podestà community. Three years after its construction it became the residence of King Enzo. He was captured during the battle of Fossalta and remained there until his death, after he spent 23 years in prison! He was buried in the Basilica di San Domenico. This is what he desired and where his tomb still lays to this day. In 1905 the building´s Gothic look was restored by Alfonso Rubbiani . To the right of the palace is the entrance to the chapel of Santa Maria dei Carcerati, which led prisoners to their death.
It was in an elegant brick Gothic building, constructed between the years 1391 and 1384. The project was designed by architect Antonio di Vincenzo, famous for having designed the Palace of the notaries, Palazzo Re Enzo and the Basilica of San Petronio. The Vincenzo had also directed the work, along with Lawrence Bagnomarino. The palace was home to the Merchants Forum and some businesses. It is in Piazza della Mercanzia, a zone with restaurants and clubs nearby. What can be highlighted is its beautiful balcony.
The Palazzo Municipale is where the sumptuous presides and where you can find the precious Trento and Trieste square that is next to the cathedral. It is a much deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the year 1243, it was the residence of the East to the 16th century, when the court moved the castle to its new location a few feet away. The front of the cathedral through a vault is how you an access Patio Ducale, today the Piazzetta Municipale, where windows overlook the rooms of the East. There is also a nice XV-century staircase, next to which is the court chapel. The visitors are also within the Cabinet of the Duchesses and lounges that are filled with beautiful frescoes.
This building won't catch your eye immediately, but it's very nice. It's next to the cathedral. It was managed by the "Società dei Notai", which was built in 1381 to establish its own headquarters. The six windows decorated with white marble columns were made by Antonio Di Vicenzo in 1385, and combined with the upper battlements, they give the palace a very elegant look. The coat of arms of the Società dei Notai can be seen in the central part of the facade and depicts three inkwells with a quill pen. Now there are some stores inside.
This elegant twelfth century building is in the centre of Modena, where the church of Santa Margherita once stood - hence the name. It has previously been a convent and a barracks, and today it is home to several cultural attractions like the Civic Galllery. Inside there's a garden and an unusual sculpture, a kind of metal ball perforated in several places.