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The municipal headquarters of Turin, officially known today as Palazzo Civico, but commonly referred to by the old name Palazzo di Città, was designed in 1659 by the architect Lanfranchi. The laying of the first stone took place during a ceremony attended by the highest city authorities, including the archbishop, Duke Carlo Emanuele II, and Mother Cristina of France. Construction was completed in 1663.

On that occasion, the newlyweds and guests were treated to a spectacular and majestic fireworks display in the square in front of the palace.

Palazzo Civico

Unfortunately, Francesca d’Orleans passed away at a young age the following year. The duke then remarried, this time to Maria Giovanna Battista. Once again, the venue for the ceremony was Palazzo di Città.

Palazzo di Città

At the time, the palace appeared much narrower and shorter. The elevated section where the clock is now installed had not yet been constructed. About a century later, Benedetto Alfieri expanded and raised the palace, also reconfiguring the square.

On the ground floor, on either side of the portico that highlights the entrance to the palace, you’ll find two statues dedicated respectively to Ferdinando di Savoia and Eugenio di Savoia. The internal Courtyard of Honor remains as designed by Lanfranchi.

Through a staircase, you can access the Marble Hall on the first floor, which was modernized after the Restoration of 1815. Today, this hall is primarily used for civil weddings.

Piazza Palazzo di Città

It’s worth noting that on January 6, 1919, American President Woodrow Wilson appeared on the balcony of Palazzo di Città to greet the crowd. This is a unique occurrence in the history of an American president in Turin.

Piazza Palazzo di Città

Piazza Palazzo di Città, which takes its name from the homonymous palace, is also known as Piazza delle Erbe due to the market that used to be held there, selling fresh and dried food.

However, it was often referred to by the people as Borsa dij busiard, perhaps indicating the less-than-complete honesty of the merchants in promoting their products or maybe alluding to the promises made by city representatives who gathered at the palace.

In the second half of the 18th century, Benedetto Alfieri redesigned the square as an ideal setting for Palazzo di Città. This transformation gave rise to the two characteristic porticoed wings.

Statue of Conte Verde

In 1853, on behalf of Carlo Alberto, Pelagio Pelagi designed the monumental statue of Conte Verde (the Green Count), placed in front of the Municipio. The statue depicts Conte Verde’s victory over the Turks during his participation in a crusade.

However, the monument sparked amusement among the people of Turin: the depiction of Conte Verde relentlessly attacking a defeated man on the ground didn’t quite match the image of a valorous hero. In this regard, the cavalier Baratta wrote:

Who struck this man is not entirely clear; but given Conte’s rare intellect, we can bet a hundred to ten that the one who made it intended a beating