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Monday 26 September 2016, SS. Cosma e Damiano
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Piazza delle Erbe

Historical Notes. Market Square (or the square of herbs) occupies a good part of the area of Verona’s Roman Court, where the Maximum Decuman and Maximum Cardo intersected. Through the centuries, the square has been the centre of the city’s political and economic life.

Monuments. The square is surrounded by buildings and monuments that have marked the history of Verona. We have included in this guide the special cards for some of these buildings (the City Hall, Lamberti Tower) in the following pages.

  • The complex that is detached after Volto Barbaro and which extends to the end of the corner of Corso Sant’Anastasia is known as the “Houses of the Mazzanti”. These structures go back to the XIV century.
  • The smaller side of the palace winds up with the solemn baroque fifth of Maffei Palace. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Maffei family owned the area and had decided to build a monumental palace. It was equipped with a terrace, upon which a pensile vegetable and citrus fruit garden was planted. The banister that concludes the prospectus of the palace is adorned by statues: from the left, they are Herculese, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Apollo and Minerva.
  • The Gardello Tower was pre-existent with respect to the Scala era, but in 1363 Cansignorio restored it and raised it to its current level. In 1370 the seigniory had a bell placed in the tower to mark the time (and it was thus called the “clock bell”).
  • The side of the square that faces the corner of Corso Porta Borsari at Piazzetta XIV November is cited in medieval documents with the name of Borgolecco or Borgoletto. The houses rise on the foundations of the Roman Capitol, which faced the Court with one of its most important façades.
  • The Casa dei Mercanti (Merchant’s House) stands on the corner with Via Pellicciai. The foundations of this building go back to 1301. Through the centuries, the building has undergone various transformations. In 1797 the house changed its name and became the Chamber of Commerce.
  • The most ancient monument in the square is the Fountain, with its statue, which is called “Madonna Verona”. It is a Roman statue, with an epigraphy dated in the IV century, which asserts that the statue was transferred to the Court around the year 380 with a solemn ceremony. In 1368 the square’s beautiful fountain was built, perhaps by Bonino da Campione.
  • Another historical monument that has been renovated several times is the capital, also called the Tribuna or Berlina. It already existed in the XIII century, and the Praetorians sat under it for the swearing in ceremony, when they took office.
  • At the end of the square, towards Via Cappello, there is an ancient column surmounted by an aedicule, which was erected towards the end of the fourth century, during the brief years of domination by the Visconti.
  • Following the events tied to the temporary occupation of Verona by Maximillian Hapsburg, the Veronese erected a superb white marble column in the square, in order to be forgiven for their previous pro-empire sentiments, upon the summit of which a “Marcian Lion” had been placed in 1524, the symbol of the Republic of Venice.
Source: Notiziario BPV numero 3 anno 1995

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Guides: Firenze, Roma, Venezia, Verona.