Vicopisano | Pretorio Palace and Gaols

Palazzo Pretorio is one of the most representative buildings of medieval civil architecture along the Tuscan coast. The oldest part of the complex is the ochre-yellow façade from the 12th-13th centuries, built in Verrucana stone (from the nearby Monte della Verruca) and featuring three pointed arches with four pillars.

When Vicopisano fell under Florence, it became the seat of the Vicariate and the prisons, which in the 16th century were already divided into public prisons and secret prisons, a distinction that would remain for centuries to come. The thousands of prisoners who were kept in the prisons over 500 years have left traces of their passage in the thousands of writings of the prisoners, which bear witness to their suffering.

The Vicars also left their mark by having their coats of arms affixed inside and outside the palace, so that today there are still almost fifty coats of arms in marble, painted majolica and pietra serena. The Scalinata del Brunelleschi (Brunelleschi Stairway), which descends from the square in front of the palace to the Torre del Soccorso, offers a splendid view of the medieval walls.

Palazzo Pretorio and the Vicarial Prisons are part of Vicopisano monumental complex that includes the Brunelleschi Fortress.

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