Life in the Fields, Gavino Tilocca
bas-relief on polished plaster, c.1950
Procession of the Mysteries, Eugenio Tavolara, 25 carved and painted wooden puppets, 1928

PALAZZO DI CITTÀ

From the Medieval to 1825

Palazzo di Città lies in the same area which was occupied from the second half of the 13th century onwards by the Town Hall, the centre of power and headquarters for the institutions of the city of Sassari. This elegant building overlooked “Ruga de Cotinas”, the modern day Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a main thoroughfare between Castle Gate and the Gate of Saint Biagio. Like many of the buildings on the same street it had a façade with colonnades, through which one entered the loggia, a vast room in which the Supreme Council met. In the era of the Communes, this was presided over by a Magistrate. The building was the headquarters of the town offices and archive, which for centuries safeguarded the history and memories of the town, despite being severely damaged in 1527 and 1780.

Reconstruction

The ancient Town Hall maintained an almost unaltered appearance for centuries, until its demolition in 1826. The reconstruction work, following a project by Giuseppe Cominotti, started in the same year and finished four years later, as is testified to by the dedication inscription above the main door. The new building continued to host the town offices until their transfer to Palazzo d’Usini in 1878. In 1830 Cominotti divided up the original space, giving some rooms to the city council, and the rest of the space to the new theatre, inspired by the Carignano theatre of Turin. The space dedicated to the city council was used as such until its transfer to Palazzo d'Usini in 1878. At the end of the 19th century, following instructions from Mayor Mariotti, the building was restored and redecorated; on this occasion the painter Andrea Marchisio painted a neo-Baroque fresco in the Council Room, covering up a previous fresco by Pietro Bossi dating to 1851. Over the years the building and theatre within were restored and extended several times. In 1947, the decaying original wooden structures and ornamental fittings were taken down, the theatre thus lost its 19th century appearance, until the most recent restoration work which finished in 2006.