OLD TOWN, Piazza Dei Signori

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From Piazza delle Erbe, an archway - known as “Arco della Costa” because of the whale rib (costola) that hangs from the center of it - will take you into the splendid, austere Piazza dei Signori, surrounded on all sides by porticos and closed by archways, almost as if it were a courtyard.

The fulcrum of public life under the Della Scala family during the centuries the city was under Venetian rule, the square boasts a number of statues, starting from the nineteenth-century monument to Dante Alighieri, built in memory of the hospitality offered to the great poet by Cangrande Della Scala.

 

From the Arco della Costa, if you look to the right, you’ll see Palazzo della Ragione, the facade of which faces Piazza delle Erbe. On this side, you can recognize the Romanesque construction from the end of the 12th century, with alterations made in the 16th century. Inside, you can visit the large Old Market courtyard, surrounded by porticoes supported by pillars, with the usual red and white stripes created by alternating stone with brick. The beautifully elegant external stairway, a jewel of Late Gothic architecture, dates to the 15th century.

Looking down over all this is the Lamberti Tower, a brick construction dating to the 12th century, to which the stone part was added in the 15th century, taking the height up to 84 meters. From the top, you can enjoy the most famous views of the center of Verona.

 

Returning to the square, on the same side as Palazzo della Ragione is Palazzo dei Tribunali, or Court Building, a construction from a variety of periods, resting against a solid crenellated tower. The military nature of the building is also evident in the seventeenth-century Porta dei Bombardieri archway, decorated with weapons.

At the bottom of the square is the imposing Palazzo del Governo, or Government Building, once a residence of the Della Scala family. Large parts of the original fourteenth-century building remain in the porticoed courtyard, while the rest is the result of restoration work.

 

Behind the monument to Dante is the most beautiful construction in the square, the Loggia di frà Giocondo, thus named after the architect believed to have designed it. Built towards the end of the 15th century, it is composed of a portico with tall, graceful arches, while five large double windows open out on the first floor. At the top, you can see the statues of five illustrious sons of Verona from ancient times, featuring particularly sophisticated materials and splendid relief decorations in marble.

 

 

An interesting fact: the people of Verona are also known as Scaligeri, in memory of the rich, powerful Scaliger or Della Scala dynasty, who governed Verona and part of the Veneto region for over 125 years, from 1262 to 1387.

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