Palazzo del Podestà

The Palazzo del Podestà Cangrande I della Scala, shared the power with his brother Alboin in 1308, already in 1311 resided in his new palace of Santa Maria Antica, which is the actual building of the Provincial Administration, at the corner of the Piazza dei Signori with Arche Scaligere . We had moved from the house of his father, Albert – died September 3, 1301 – which was located next to Santa Maria Antica, in the courtyard of the building now referred to as that of the Courts. Therefore logical to think that the current building of the province to be born, or at least has been transformed, in those years, to become the new home of the lord.

Rebuilt several times, also restored several times (the last renovation was in 1929), the building has a facade on the Piazza dei Signori and another to the Scaliger. It seems that here Cangrande has hosted the poet Dante Alighieri, exiled from Florence for the second time in Verona (during the first stay, but Dante was hosted by Bartholomew, in the case of Albert). Cacciaguida, Dante’s great-grandfather, with these words in the seventeenth canto of the Paradiso announces distant nephew, after the painful expulsion from his native town, the long exile:

Thine earliest refuge, the first hostel
will be the courtesy of the great Lombard
che’n on the Ladder bears the holy bird.

The sacred bird is just the eagle, the symbol of imperial authority, with which only the Scaliger could boast its own coat of arms, as were the vicars of the Emperor, the only heir of the Holy Roman Empire.

Legend says that Dante, while writing his “Comedy”, which had made five or six songs, they always did a copy and despatched to Cangrande. But unfortunately there is nothing left of the poet’s autograph.

Some time ago the Lerici Foundation announced that with special equipment would have conducted research to identify buildings in La Scala of Verona cavities in which, according to ancient tradition, were hidden manuscripts of the poet. The news had also left many incredulous Dante scholars who thought it highly unlikely, and rightly so.

Also as part of this building it seems that, from Padua, where he had just wonderfully painted the Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto also found hospitality at the court at La Scala. Giorgio Vasari tells us that the great Florentine painter “Messer (lord) Dog did some paintings in his palace, and especially the portrait of the Lord, and ‘friars of San Francesco a table.” But there is no fresco of him remained.

We also know from the testimony of contemporaries that the influx of people to the palace was continuous. Important people, distinguished guests, embassies, religious, stewards of the villas of the area, soldiers, German and Italian knights, servants, maids, pages, footmen, grooms, falconers, masters at arms, couriers, troubadours, judges, vendors, singers, musicians, jugglers animated kitchens, halls, galleries, rooms and courtyards.

A fourteenth-century lodge was built by Cansignorio here instead. Originally it was a two-story lodge, with only two rooms and stacked high, the walls were entirely painted by famous painters and Surplus Altichiero. The “Great Room” inside the lodge was described and remembered last Vasari Giunta edition of his “Lives” (1568). Of the three groups to fresco, that is, the “War of Jerusalem according to Josephus,” which was located on the first floor, the two “Triumphs,” which were probably in the wall of the downstairs, and the “partition of medals “due to Altichiero and Jacopo Avanzi, only the latter was found, with many pieces still intact and of high quality, recently restored and placed in the Museum of Frescoes in the Casa di Giulietta.

They were the arches of the upper floors have large arches in the paintings: the oldest example of imperial medallions date stated in the Middle Ages, such that – according to Mellini – anticipates the medals of the Carrara family, until now considered the oldest of this formula preumanistico of courtly taste of this kind which might have its first expressions in Verona. The celebration of the Roman Emperors becomes here, with the exaltation of the Casa Della Scala family, the celebration of the dignity and decorum of a city, governed by new Caesars – The Scala – who by their deeds, the ancient laurels green again.

Altichiero and Jacopo Avanzi are the two greatest painters of the fourteenth century Verona. Together they worked in Verona and Padua. In Verona, as well as decorate with the facts of Jewish history and medallions of Roman emperors Cansignorio of the lodge, in existing buildings in the prefecture, worked elsewhere: at St. Anastasia and St. Zeno, for example. In Padua, frescoed a chapel inside the Basilica of St. Anthony. If Veronese frescoes of the lodge went (except for some medallions as we have seen) completely destroyed, but the surviving frescoes in Padua, admired as works of the most beautiful fourteenth-century Italian.

Drop the Lordship Scaliger, the Palace, during the Venetian rule of Verona, and beyond, was the seat of important judiciary. Here, in Venetian times, were the offices of mayor, one of whom, John Dolfin, committed in 1533 to Michele Sanmicheli the magnificent portal that graces the entrance of the palace by Piazza dei Signori. This port, made in the likeness of the Roman triumphal arch, also in Verona has a probable ancestry: the arch is called the Gavi, whose facade is repeated here with a certain probability, unless the high base, does not make potutosi because the new entrance to the palace Podesta had come to overlap more than previously existed as well.

And ‘this non-construction of the foundations that Giorgio Vasari, in the beautiful life of Michele San Micheli, she wrote: “I am silent not already, which made the beautiful ports of two buildings: one was that of’ rectors and the captain, and the other is the mayor of the palace, both highly praised in Verona: well if the latter, which is with double Ionic columns and ornate intercolumniations, and some wins in the corners, it seems, for the vileness of the place where it is located, very dwarf, being especially without pedestals and very large for the duplicity of the columns, but so that the Dolphins wanted Sir John f ‘do. ”

A correction of the judgment of Vasari, also taken from Temanza, had to intervene in the first half of last century, another mayor of Verona, from the Persian Giambattista in his famous guide to the city of Verona wrote: “AI Vasari and this seemed to Temanza port rather squat to see: what was to have been encumbered by front and sides shod gate, the little space left over from the upper windows, as there are more. This, however, now appears, and who looks good shows indeed regulated the moldings of Greek antiquities, which are no longer stands. This does not, therefore, it was difformata dappiedi, given the slope of the plan. Among its architectural qualities we want to note, com’abbia Sanmicheli able to impose himself on the columns and Ionic capitals fluted pilasters on them while, dodging the nasty that it ought to proceed in the compartment of the ovules, replacing half the rectum below the volutes, when there are other round: on that first revealed the Albertolli well, we can not just say that the other puts to uffizj giudiziarj, not falling into it such OBJECTS. But see that in both symmetry of invention, and that grace of form. ”

Source: Notiziario BPV numero 3 anno 1987

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