Palazzo Pretorio is the symbolic building of Certaldo, found at the end of Via Boccaccio and part of the town’s museum complex together with the House of Boccaccio and the Museum of Sacred Art.
The facade of bricks is studded with glazed terracotta coats of arms of some of the most important Florentine families. The Palazzo was built in the XII Century by the Conti Alberti family and from the XV Century was home to the Valdelsa parsonage and courts of justice.
The exhibition is dedicated to this theme. Starting from the Camera del Cavaliere, where preliminary hearings were held and where the motto “ODI L’ALTRA PARTE E CREDI POCHISSIMO” (HATE YOUR OPPONENT AND BELIEVE LITTLE) one carries on to the Sale delle Udienze, the civil prison, the dark criminal prisons and the chapel where the condemned spent their final night in prayer. The visit continues on the first floor with a visit to the private apartments and the splendid Sala del Vicario frescoed at the end of the XV Century by Pier Francesco Fiorentino, while in the nearby church of San Tommaso e Prospero the Tabernacolo dei Giustiziati (1464-65) can be found, masterpiece of Benozzo Gozzoli, which was originally located in a chapel along the road to the gallows and which represented the last comfort for those condemned to death.
Not to be missed, the original Japanese garden created in the courtyard of the palazzo by the artist Hidetoshi Nagasawa where a typical Japanese tea house has been re-constructed.
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