Palazzo Pretorio e Torre Civica
The Palazzo Pretorio and Torre Civica overlook Trento's beautiful Piazza Duomo.
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The Palazzo Pretorio used to be the Bishop's residence until the 1250s. Together with the Torre Civica and the imposing structure of the Cathedral of San Vigilio, the church is one of the main features of the striking Piazza Duomo in Trento. Erected in 1220 by the Prince-Bishop Federico Vanga, the palace used to be the seat not only of the Bishops of Trento, but also of the Municipality, the Podestà and the Courts as well. Its main body was built on the remains of two churches: San Giovanni Battista and San Biagio. Decorated with Ghibelline embattlements, the façade features two rows of three mullioned windows on the first floor and mullioned windows on the second floor. Recent refurbishing works have given the fortified palace back its Romanesque, 13th century looks. Today, Palazzo Pretorio houses the prestigious Museo Diocesano Tridentino, which commemorates its famous Council.
Originally, the Torre Civica was Palazzo Pretorio's keep. Built before the 11th century, the tower increased in height several times. With its big clock, it accompanies the flow of time in the square. However, the tower was used in the past as a city jail and it still houses the Campana della Regna, the bell that used to call the arengo, or public assemblies and death sentences, which were carried out in Piazza Duomo beneath it.