- Art & Culture
Palazzo del Podestà
Located on the lakefront of Salò, today the town hall, it represents a significant chapter in the history of the lakeside town
Palazzo del Podestà, located on the lakeside promenade of Salò between vicolo Conforti and Piazza della Vittoria, serve as the modern-day home of the municipal offices.
The former dates back to 1524 and the latter was rebuilt in 1905, after it was seriously damaged by an earthquake in 1901. The two buildings are joined by a portico where coats of arms and inscriptions can be found.
In the 16th century Salò entered under the rule of Venice, the most important city from an economic, strategic and military standpoint. Salò was the head of 52 municipalities, from Bedizzole to Limone which together were known as "Magnifica Patria" (the Magnificent Homeland), founded in 1300 -1380. Various fragments of a fresco in the Loggia date back to this period.
The coats of arms of all the municipalities that were part of the Magnifica Patria are painted on the coffered ceiling of the gallery. Beneath the Loggia, several well-preserved plaques celebrate the visit of historical figures to Salò (such as King Vittorio Emanuele, Giuseppe Mazzini, Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi) during the unification of Italy.
The brown arch found beneath the arcades marks the boundary between the new building (1901), which was rebuilt in the style of the time, and the old section. Upon entering the building, be sure to note the Roman columns that were used to delimit the roads at the time.
As you climb the large staircase of town hall you can admire a beautiful, symbolic and allegorical 18th-century painting that depicts the Superintendent, by the painter Andrea Bertanza, born in Padenghe and a Salò citizen by adoption. Kneeling in front of the Superintendent is a lady who, in a symbolic sense, represents the Magnificent Homeland, and welcomes him with a cornucopia containing the fruits grown in the lakeside towns.
At the foot of the Superintendent lies an angel with a sword, signifying that through Venetian rule, the Superintendent and the power of Venice , the chains had been broken that were endured by Salò prior to the birth of the Venetian Republic.
In the Sala del Consiglio room there are large cabinets that contain the original archive documents and papers on the history of the 52 municipalities of the Magnificent Homeland.