Loggia del Consiglio
In Italian the word loggia refers to a building with an open arched space, either at ground level or on above floors. It is a very typical feature of many buildings in Italian historical city centers, both public and private, from Middle Age and Renaissance. Verona city center makes no exceptions and is possible to find few examples of loggias, the most representative of which is the Loggia del Consiglio (city council loggia) in piazza dei Signori square.
It represents the first example of pure Renaissance style architecture in Veneto. And it's no coincidence. In the Veneto dominated by the Serenissima, the Renaissance style, widespread in Tuscany and in the papal Rome with which Venice was often in conflict, was somehow considered subversive. Verona, in order to put an end to the decades of power struggles that followed the decline of the Scala family's rule, had spontaneously surrendered to Venice in 1405. In many ways the Venetian domination was proving to be advantageous for the city that had begun to prosper again. However, Verona in some way wanted to try to maintain a sort of proud autonomy, even if just and exterior appearance, from the Serenissima , as Venice was called at the time. The Renaissance style was good for the purpose. The new art took inspiration from structures and decorative elements such as the round arch, medallions and candelabra bas relief of the Roman past, when Verona had been a flourishing and important city, unlike Venice which, at best, was a village of fishermen's shacks in an inhospitable brackish marsh. Even the function for which the palace was intended was part of this role-playing in which Verona was left with an illusion of autonomy when in fact all power was in the hands of Venice. The Council was in fact the assembly of representatives of the nobility and rich bourgeoisie that in the communal age had elected the podestà, sort of mayor, and in the Scala age had formally legitimated the totalitarian power of the Scala family.
Even if there is no general agreement among art historians,
apparently the project was entrusted to Fra' Giocondo, an
important Renaissance architect. He was originally from
Verona province, and worked throughout Italy and France during the
15th century. According to tradition, a stone bas-relief on a
corner of the palace with the effigy of a monk indicating an open
book would be the portrait of Fra Giocondo. More likely, the
design of the loggia was made by some capable local stonemasons,
assisted by some member of the Council with a passion for
architecture, who perhaps had had the opportunity to see similar
buildings in Florence and Rome. Of course, seeing the great
harmony and elegance of the Loggia del Consiglio one might doubt
that it could be the work of a great master.
On top of the Loggia del Consiglio, proud of the greatness of Verona past (which Venice, the new power, could not boast) they placed statues of illustrious people of Roman age who were originally from Verona: Vitruvius, Catullus, Pliny the Elder, Aemilius Macer and Cornelius Nepos. As a warning to the ambitions of the Veronese, and to remind the members of the council who was really in charge, Venice had a plaque placed at the entrance of the Loggia with the following inscription: Pro summa fide summus amor. A great love in exchange for a great loyalty.
Today the Loggia del Consiglio is the seat of the Provincial
Council of Verona.
Loggia del Consiglio is an important stop of every guided itinerary in Verona that passes through Piazza dei Signori. In occasion of some special events, the arched space below and the internal hall are accessible to the public. To visit Verona with the tourist guides of the city do not hesitate to contact us.