Multi-purpose Atrium

April 18, 2012 / Places
Pisa, Tuscany
Take a stroll Lungarno (from lungo l’Arno, lit., along the Arno) and you really get an idea of Pisa’s military and mercantile power back in its heydey. Palazzo after patrician palazzo formally stand post, side-by-side, lining both sides of the river for most of the centro storico.

Palazzo Gambacorti however, never served as private home again once its owners moved out/on in the 13th century.

Perhaps this was because of its location, right by the main bridge, where the main drag crosses the river. Or perhaps it was due to its larger size… over the centuries it swallowed up its neighboring palazzi, so technically includes the two to either side even though they look completely different.

Since the 13th century, it has instead been the location for…

..the Consoli del Mare (the Consuls of the Sea, a public legislative body of the Maritime Republic of Pisa), the Dogana (customs office), the Priori Cittadini (Citizen priory), the Magistrature (judicial courts), the State Archive, the Fire Brigade and Station, and the Guards of the Comune. In keeping with tradition, at the moment it houses the administrative offices of the Comune (City Hall/County Seat).

Which possibly makes Palazzo Gambacorti’s impressive Gothic styled atrium, pictured below, the most multi-purpose atrium you’re likely to come across.

Address? No surprise there… Via degli Uffizzi, 1. (1, Office Street.)


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

6 Responses to “Multi-purpose Atrium”

  1. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Such incredible interior beauty. many Atrium have flora enhancing the design of men with the design of God. a bit of green would give the wonderful ceilings and walled arches warmth.

  2. Dan Johnson

    We drove along the Arno when departing Pisa after visiting the “Field of Miracles”, but didn’t have time left to check out the archielogical dig going on near the airport or palazzos such as this. Maybe next time…

  3. It’s always fascinating to me that Italians use their buildings from centuries ago for around the same purposes today. Office Street seems to apropos… although I suppose I was also looking for the military offices in Pisa along this street. LOL! Wonderful post!

  4. Anne Robichaud

    Where else but in Italy is the atrium to city offices, archives, fire station, customs house a work of architectural splendor? Ah, these Italians with their innate aesthetic sense.
    Thanks for the reminder, GB, with this good note!


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