Palazzo della Frumentaria
Pictorial Archive of Sassari,
Enrico Costa

PALAZZO DELLA FRUMENTARIA

The urban context

The Frumentaria building represents the first example of a rations deposit specially built in Sardinia for the storage of corn for encierro, that is the stocking of the annual requirements of the city. The Spanish word encierro, literally “closure”, refers to the procedure imposed on the corn producers by the various town authorities in relation to the provision of rations. With a charter dated 13th January 1362 Pietro il Cerimonioso extended the privilege of the Frumentaria with the possibility of placing there 6000 strickles of new corn, the equivalent of 18,000 starelli. Only with the arrival of the charter of 30th October 1518 did the city confirm the right to gather a maximum quantity of 4000 strickles (equivalent of 12,000 starelli). Sassari was the only Sardinian town with the privilege of “closure” to build a storehouse for the storage of cereals. With occasional collapses and restoration work, the Frumentaria maintained its function of storehouse for foodstuffs for the civil population until 1833. Today the Frumentaria is the only surviving element of the public intervention in the area of Porta Macello in the era of great urban change which took place between the 16th to the 17th centuries. The location of the Frumentaria is no mere coincidence: this area of the town was connected with food-related services ever since there was a considerable investment in public works from the end of the 16th to the 17th centuries that led to the building of a new slaughterhouse, a fish market and a weighing house, where the corn that left the city and the flour that entered were weighed.