The Piazza dei Priori is the political centre of the town of Volterra. It is surrounded by Medieval palaces which are as much symbols of the power of the town during the Middle Ages as a reminder ...
The Piazza dei Priori is the political centre of the town of Volterra. It is surrounded by Medieval palaces which are as much symbols of the power of the town during the Middle Ages as a reminder that the power of the bishop - initially dominant - was rapidly challenged by the newly created commune. The Palazzo dei Priori, which dates from the 13th century, is the oldest building. Its three storey façade is pierced with bi- and trefoil arches and its lateral pillars are decorated with lions, the symbol of Florence. The entrance hall is also decorated with coat of arms and medallions. Even today, the palace remains the seat of the municipality and it is possible to visit the council chamber and its magnificent coffered ceiling. Other palaces line this magnificent square: there's the Palazzo Pretorio and its so called Tower of the Little Pig, then there's the Episcopal Palace which originally was a grain store before becoming the bishop's residence at the end of the 15th century. The Palazzo Incontri is nowadays home to a bank and is both medieval and Renaissance in style. Finally there's the Palazzo del Monte Pio which is another medieval structure which was largely re-modelled in the 20th century. The original building can be seen from the back.
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