Long Ago in Spoleto | The Town Hall in 1913

In September, 1913, the Spoleto City Council decides to invest as much as 3,000 Lire to fix part of the south façade, the one that gives onto the Town Hall square.

The fact is reported by the “Messaggero” of 18th September of that year. The same newspaper, a few months later, reports that a small accident at work occurred during the interventions, fortunately without consequences.

The Spoleto Town Hall is a composite historical building, a sort of architectural palimpsest resulted from the union of several buildings that have progressively merged into one larger structure.

Its oldest nucleus dates to the 13th century, but its current appearance is due to the complex works that affected the palace at the end of the 18th century, after repeated and violent earthquakes had definitively compromised its appearance and use.

Town Hall | Works in 1913

Among the old pictures of the Town Hall kept at the Carducci Library, that we propose for the column “Long Ago in Spoleto”, the one that refers to the 1913 works is particularly suggestive. It shows part of the south façade of the palace still flanked by a private building, Casa Brancaleoni, a 15th century dwelling belonging to a local noble family.

The Town Hall after the early-2000s works

In 1913, in fact, it was decided to demolish part of Casa Brancaleoni in the frame of the enlargement project of the Town Hall. A new wing of the building was to be built on the area of the 15th century house, with a neo-Gothic façade. An operation, this one, defined in the volume Umbria. Manuali per il Territorio. Spoleto an “woeful false-antique addition”.

Decorated by Spoletan artists Giuseppe Moscatelli and Benigno Peruzzi, who also worked on some of the most important rooms inside the palace, the façade was completed according to the indications of the distinguished Spoleto archaeologist and historian Giuseppe Sordini, as part of a series of adaptations decided after one of the most striking historical-artistic testimonies of the city had been brought to light in that area: the Roman House.

In those very years, in fact, the second excavation campaign for the recovery of the first century Roman building was being completed under the supervision of Sordini. The first campaign had begun in 1885, but the real discovery of the remains of the domus had taken place in the 18th century, when the foundations of the new town hall were being laid.

Without bothering with the theories on the recurring cycles in history or the formulations on the circularity of time, the fact that the construction of Casa Brancaleoni in the 15th century led to the demolition of the front part of the prestigious Roman monument should not be overlooked.


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