Cortile del Tribunale

A few more steps and we will be in Piazza dei Signori. In those days, this site was probably still full of huts and shops, but during the Scaliger dynasty it was turned into the representative and residential complex that we know today. In 1285, Alberto commissioned the construction of the magnificent family palace with its porch and a garden with a large well that extended to the area known today as “Cortile del Tribunale”.
In order to start the works, it was necessary to request an amendment to the Statutes that prohibited the construction of fortified buildings in the immediate vicinity of Palazzo del Comune. It is the first public display of the power of the Scaligers. Albert I, just and generous, is called honourable master by the people and leaves the well consolidated signoria of the territory to his son Bartolomeo.
Over the centuries, the square becomes the meeting place of the city. With the subsequent additions of Loggia del Consiglio and Palazzo della Prefettura and the enlargement of the Scaliger cemetery, the area, enclosed on all sides by mediaeval buildings, becomes a natural setting for picturesque representations of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Unforgettable is the staging of the play in 1950 under the direction of Renato Salvini. The ball where the protagonists met, enriched by the extraordinary performance of Vittorio Gassman in the role of Romeo and Edda Albertini as Juliet, was represented under Loggia del Consiglio and it was even necessary to move the statue of Dante to allow better visibility for the audience. The whole city was involved in the event. Horses and carriages ran through the city centre, and once the tragedy was completed, the bells of Torre dei Lamberti tolled for the dead lovers.

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