Palazzo della Provincia

The Palazzo della Provincia, in Piazza della Libertà, is the headquarters of the provincial administration of Arezzo, which in 1913 decided to build it and commissioned the project to Giuseppe Paoli. The engineer united two buildings, the Casa del Predicatore and Casa Guadagnoli, which were in turn built on houses of medieval origin on the upper part of the San Pietro hill. Palazzo De Giudici was connected to them, opposite Palazzo dei Priori, also erected on previous buildings, which since 1847 had been upgraded to Regio Commissariato (Royal Commissariat) and since 1849 to Prefettura (Prefecture).

The unification of the three buildings was a complex work of fusion and optimisation of spaces, in a period of intense stylistic revival that brought various neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance style interventions in the new building. Once the architectural part was completed, in 1922 the symbolist painter Adolfo De Carolis was entrusted with the decorative part of the various rooms.

The emblem of that pictorial feat is the Sala dei Grandi, home of the Provincial Council, where the artist from the Marche region combined in-depth iconographic research and documentary sources with a modern layout of the scenes depicted. Worth noting are the allegorical frescoes on the side walls that refer to the working vocations of the land of Arezzo, such as agriculture and metallurgy, the frescoed fireplace with the provincial emblem and the raised tribune.

The back wall features a huge fresco with the “Uomini illustri” (Illustrious men), celebrating the great personalities born in the province over the centuries, all gathered together. A commission was set up to ensure that the best ones were chosen.

In the summer of 1923, De Carolis’ painting work began, assisted by his brother Dante and assistants Diego Pettinelli and Boncompagno Boncompagni. The hall was completed on 27 July 1924 and inaugurated, together with the new Palazzo della Provincia, on 27 September 1925.

The centre of the upper part bears the coat of arms of the Municipality of Arezzo and on the two sides the allegories of history, tradition, arts and sciences. At the ends are some identity symbols such as the Chimera, La Minerva, the Roman Amphitheatre, the bell tower of the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta and the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Donato. Immediately below, against a neo fifteenth-century architectural backdrop, the great full-length Aretines are arranged in chronological order from left to right, with Michelangelo at the centre, seated on a throne.

Via Ricasoli gives access to both the Giardino Pensile (roof garden) and the Atrio d’Onore (Atrium of Honour), used for events and exhibitions. Finally, from Via dell’Orto you can enter the “Mostra permanente della Fauna Selvatica” (Permanent Exhibition of Wild Fauna). The museum houses over 600 specimens of birds and mammals preserved using the taxidermy technique. The specimens are grouped according to orders and families.

Palazzo della Provincia, side view, facing the Duomo

Palazzo della Provincia, Sala dei Grandi

Palazzo della Provincia, Sala dei Grandi

Palazzo della Provincia, Sala dei Grandi

“Illustrious Men” of Arezzo

From left to right they follow in chronological order: Gaius Cilnio Maecenas, advisor to Octavian Augustus and protector of artists (70 BC?/8 AD?), Guido d’Arezzo, Benedictine monk and music theorist (990?/1033? ), Guglielmino degli Ubertini, bishop and lord of Arezzo (1219?/1289), Margarito d’Arezzo, painter and architect (1240?/1290?), Guittone d’Arezzo, poet (1225?/1294), Santa Margherita, nun (1247? /1297), Francesco Petrarca, poet (1304/1374), Spinello Aretino, painter (1350?/1410), Masaccio, painter (1401/1428), Leonardo Bruni, humanist, historian and politician (1370/1444), Poggio Bracciolini, humanist, historian and politician (1380/1459), Piero della Francesca, painter and mathematician (1415? /1492), Cristoforo Landino, humanist, poet and philosopher (1424/1498?), Mino da Poppi, sculptor (1429/1484), Luca Signorelli, painter (1445? /1523), Michelangelo Buonarroti, sculptor, painter, architect and poet (1475/1564), Andrea Sansovino, sculptor and architect (1467? /1529), Bernardo Dovizi, diplomat and playwright (1470/1520), Giorgio Vasari, painter, architect and art historian (1511/1574), Giulio III del Monte, pontiff (1487/1555), Pietro Aretino, writer, poet and playwright (1492/1556), Benedetto Varchi, humanist and historian (1503/1565), Andrea Cesalpino, physician and botanist (1524? /1603), Pietro da Cortona, painter and architect (1596/1669), Alessandro dal Borro, condottiere (1600/1656), Francesco Redi, physician, naturalist and scholar (1626/1697), Bernardo Tanucci, jurist and politician (1698–1783), Vittorio Fossombroni, hydraulic engineer, politician, mathematician and economist (1754/1844) and Pietro Benvenuti, painter (1769/1844).

Gaio Cilnio Mecenate, Guido d’Arezzo, Guglielmino degli Ubertini, Margarito d’Arezzo, Guittone d’Arezzo

Santa Margherita, Francesco Petrarca, Spinello Aretino, Masaccio, Leonardo Bruni, Poggio Bracciolini

Piero della Francesca, Cristoforo Landino, Mino da Poppi, Luca Signorelli, Michelangelo Buonarroti

Andrea Sansovino, Bernardo Dovizi, Giorgio Vasari, Giulio III del Monte, Pietro Aretino, Benedetto Varchi

Andrea Cesalpino, Pietro da Cortona, Alessandro dal Borro

Francesco Redi, Bernardo Tanucci, Vittorio Fossombroni, Pietro Benvenuti