Known locally as the "salone", Palazzo della Ragione in Padua was, at the time of its creation, the largest upper storey hall in the world, at 80m long and 27m wide.
It rises at the heart of an articulated complex of civic structures that includes Palazzo degli Anziani and ancient Palazzo del Consiglio, built from the late 12th century onwards in the centre of connecting squares, present-day piazza delle Erbe and piazza della Frutta, location of the city’s market.
The ancient building resembles a huge overturned ship and is raised on 90 pillars, arranged in 4 rows. It was first created in 1219 to house law courts and financial offices, a role it maintained until 1797. The present-day shape is due to Fra. Giovanni degli Eremitani who built the vast wood roof with its sloping ends between 1306 and 1309, adding the portico and the loggias that hide the stairs.
Following the loss of Giotto’s frescoes, the hall inside features an extensive 15th century fresco cycle with astrological themes, inspired by the theories of Pietro d’Abano a doctor philosopher, a giant wooden horse and the stone of dishonour.
The great hall can be accessed by four staircases that take their names from the market located below: scala degli uccelli (birds), scala dei ferri lavorati (ironwork), scala del vino (wine) and scala della frutta (fruit). Only the building’s commercial role is still retained today: the ground floor, filled entirely with small workshops, hosts numerous businesses, most of which specialize in food and wines.
Scheda realizzata in collaborazione con Padova Film Commission