Bologna Voltone del Podesta
About Voltone del Podesta
Under Palazzo del Podestà is this area called Voltone del Podestà. It’s an open corridor that would have been lively with a daily market centuries ago. Much more sinister though is that along the walls here many poor people were said to have starved to death during the frequent bad crops. In fact, a priest even drew up a list of the bodies found here and which were later buried in common graves.
The vault illustrates paintings of four angels and iconography of St Berardino of Siena. Much more significantly in an architectural sense is that this vault is actually the central support for Ardengo’s Tower which rises above here within the grounds of Palazzo del Podestà.
At each corner is a terracotta statue of the city’s protectors, Saints Petronius, Proclus, Dominic and Francis. They were completed by Alfonso Lombardi and placed here in 1525.
There are a few shops, restaurants and offices located in under these arches now so it can still be quite a busy thoroughfare with people milling around.
There’s also an element fun under this vault as most locals and the occasional tourists play with a particular acoustic resonance experienced from the architectural genius here. By whispering in towards one corner it can clearly be heard on the opposite side which usually brings a smile to those who try it.
Tiziano Costa – Marco Poli, Conoscere Bologna, Bologna 2005, p58.
Tiziano Costa, Elisa Panzacchi, Welcome to Bologna, Bologna 2007, p8.