The original palazzo was built in the Middle Ages by the Aldobrandeschi, which is why it is also called the Palazzo Aldobrandeschi.
The structure was originally connected to a fortress and church dedicated to St George, but both were replaced with the current buildings that now adorn the Piazza Dante.
In the Middle Ages and in later centuries, the palazzo was home to the Aldobrandesci and welcomed many illustrious local and international visitors. Unfortunately much of the original structure collapsed or suffered a terrible decline after malaria swept the surrounding hills and depleated the city’s population and resources.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Sienese Gothic style facade was restored. Much of the disfigured original building was removed and artists worked from paintings of the gorgeous structure in an extremely expensive effort to restore it to its former glory.
The current palazzo is the cherry on the top of the cake that is Piazza Dante. The beautiful four storey building just sweeps its shadow across the entire piazza.
It has a strong neo-Gothic character with so many minor architectural detail work that you have to get up really close to admire it properly. Much of the exterior is made of traventine rock, which gives it a distinctly Sienese feel.
The ground floor is punctuated by a series of openings – richly carved arches, windows and portal openings adorned with coats of arms with heraldic symbols.
The main floor has greater symmetry thanks to the theory of seven three-light windows with marble columns. The central glass door overlooks a small balcony that is made from Renaissance-style marble.
The third floor exterior has three double windows with marble columns and trefoil and a four lights at the central tower. It’s corresponding tower also has two lights and a square frame with molded marble.
It’s all very intricate, very grand and very military-esque.
It’s a shame we can’t wander inside and admire the wonders that must be there. The palazzo is today the seat of the provincial government – it was the price the citizens paid to have it restored a century ago.
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