The Palazzo Pretorio and The Belfry

The historic seat of the urban Judicial Authorities and of the Frumentaria, which dealt with the loan of wheat, linked to the Mount of Piety, the Palace was built at the end of the 16th century, close to the boundary walls of the Castrum Riparoli. Of the latter it incorporates the 15th-century northern gate, used as a belfry after the interventions put in place by Vespasiano Gonzaga; also known as the Sack Tower (the public wheat storage house), it took on the role of Tower of the hours with the addition of a 17th-century covered roof terrace and the inclusion of a clock (1783). The Palace, internally renovated for successive intended uses that followed over the centuries, eventually hosting in the 20th century an elementary school, a cinema and finally a library, has retained its original features on the outside. The designer is unknown; however, the cornice with outward curving corbels could lead us to trace it back to the work of Giuseppe Dattaro, considering the roles that the Cremonese architect played in the courts of Vespasiano and Vincenzo Gonzaga at the end of the 16th century.

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