Palazzo d’Accursio is actually a collection of buildings joined over the centuries, hidden by the same facade. The original nucleus, purchased by the Municipality at the end of the 13th century, was the home of Accursio, a jurist and teacher of law in Bologna.
Only in 1336, the palace became the residence of the Anziani (Senior Citizens), the highest magistracy of the Municipality of Bologna and, therefore, the seat of the city government.
In the 15th century, the palace was renovated by Fioravante Fioravanti and an astronomical clock was added on the Torre d’Accursio, with a carousel of automata that paraded at each hour change.
Other architectural renovations date back to the early 16th century, after the fall of the Bentivoglio family. At the end of the 16th century, the double flight of stairs that gives access to the interior, attributed to Donato Bramante, was completed.
In recent history, the palace became famous for the massacre that bears its name. On November 21, 1920, while the newly elected mayor, the socialist Enio Gnudi, presided over the inaugural session of the council and the square was full of citizens, the members of the Italian Fascist Party entered the square and began shooting people. The tragic event resulted in 10 dead, and 58 wounded.
Since 2001, the palace houses the Salaborsa Library (Biblioteca Salaborsa). The library stands on Roman remains, probably coinciding with the ancient forum of the Roman city, visible through a specially made glass floor.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade of the palace is adorned by the Madonna di Piazza con Bambino (Madonna of the Square with Child), a terracotta work by Nicolò dell’Arca dating back to 1478, and by the majestic portal by Galeazzo Alessi, added in the mid-16th century, above which there is a bronze statue of Gregory XIII, created by Alessandro Menganti.
On the first floor of the palace, we can find the Hall of Hercules (Sala d’Ercole), named after the bronzed terracotta statue made by Alfonso Lombardi, which depicts Hercules triumphant over the Hydra of Lerna, the Hall of the Municipal Council (Sala del Consiglio Comunale), frescoed between 1675 and 1677 by Angelo Michele Colonna, and the Red Hall (Sala Rossa), which takes its name from the color of the tapestries.
On the second floor, we can find the Farnese Hall (Sala Farnese), built in 1665 by Cardinal Girolamo Farnese, the Farnese Chapel, in which Charles V was crowned King of Italy in 1530, the Urban Hall (Sala Urbana), which was built around 1630 by Cardinal Bernardino Spada and restored in 1852 by Cardinal Gaetano Bedini.
Also on the second floor of the palace, there is the Hall of the Cavalleggeri (Sala dei Cavalleggeri), destined in the past for the soldiers escorting the papal Legate, the Vidonian Gallery (Galleria Vidoniana), built by Cardinal Pietro Vidoni in 1665, and the Boschereccia Hall, decorated in tempera in 1797.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo d’Accursio is located about 1.5 kilometers away from the Bologna Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is located in Piazza Maggiore, a few meters away, on the bus Lines 29, A, C and T2.