Palazzo dei Priori, the most ancient public building in Tuscany, is today the Town Hall of Volterra. It was designed in 1208 and completed in mid-13th century.
It represented the center of the political power: “Priori” were called the administrators of Volterra before the fall under Florence in 1472. Its construction, just behind the Cathedral, had to represent at the time the supremacy and independence of the Comune (Town Hall) from the Bishops and the Church.
The façade has suffered several changes throughout the centuries. In 1472, when Volterra lost its freedom, the loggia was demolished and the two entrances on the right closed. The terracotta coats of arms and the two lions commemorate the Florentine commissioners who ruled the city.
Between the windows at ground floor, the ancient measurement known as the “Canna Volterrana“. The windows on the second and third floors still preserve their original Romanesque structure while those on the first are trilobed mullioned windows with a slightly pointed arch. Along the stairway there is a fresco of the Crucifixion by Pier Francesco Fiorentino(15th century). At first floor, the Council Hall with a magnificient vault ceiling (1516) which replaced the old one in wood. On the wall the fresco by Iacopo di Cione Orcagna (1383).
At the top of the palace, the high tower which make it appear more a fortification rathen than a public building. From the tower a breathtaking view over Piazza dei Priori, Volterra and the Cecina Valley