Palazzo Comunale (Town Hal) - Via Ferruccio


The Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), also called the Elders’ Palace, was located near the Landside Door. It was called, locally, the ‘Palazzaccio’. In the 1530s a decision was taken to build a new structure that would be worthier and more suited to the community's needs. The task was entrusted to Nanni di Magio of Terranova in the Upper Valdarno, who also took local citizenship. The work was completed in 1441. The architectural style was Pisan: very simple, with square windows and a roof terrace surrounded by Guelph battlements. The meeting room of the Elders is the same as that of the City Council meetings today.  During the twentieth century reconstruction, a room was discovered with a wide recess and containing a mural of the Madonna del Latte by an unknown artist, dated to the 1560s. Crests relating to the Community and to Donna Paola Colonna, wife of Gherardo Appiani, founder of the Signoria in 1399, were also found.

 A decision was taken in the sixteenth century to build a tower to be attached to the Town Hall, showing a clock and a bell at its top.

The current bell dates from 1778, cast by the bell-ringer Luca Magni Antonio. Among other decorations are the names of the Elders then in charge, and the image of Santa Anastasia, the patron saint of the city.

By the beginning of the twentieth century the building was in poor condition, and it was decided, in agreement with the town Administrator to restore it completely and the work began in 1933. The project was entrusted to the architect Egisto Bellini of Siena, who designed a drastic transformation of the architectural style of the building. No longer in the simple Pisan style, but Sienese Neo-Gothic, he designed pointed arches over the doors and windows with central columns and capitals. The bell tower was completely razed and rebuilt in the style, albeit with less character, of the Torre del Mangia in the Piazza del Campo in Siena.

The Town Hall is located in the street that until 1876 was called Via di Valle (Valley Street), now Via Ferruccio, because it sloped down from where the castle is on the hill, to the main street of the Town.   ‘Ferruccio’ is none other than Francesco Ferrucci, the Florentine leader killed by Maramaldo at the Battle of Gavinana in 1530, a battle fought for the freedom of Florence without success. Ferruccio was the name by which his troops called him, and it is no coincidence that his name is found in the town. Ugolino Verini, a memorable Florentine, settled his family, the Ferrucci, in Piombino.

Walking up the street the visitor reaches the House of Bifore, the headquarters for the town’s historical Archives. The name ‘bifore’ relates to its unusual windows. It is the unique fourteenth century example of a house tower, three-stories high, topped with a battlement, as you can see from old maps. In addition to the Community books dating from the early fifteenth century, the House of Bifore houses the archives of many institutions, foundations, corporations, and celebrities.