In 1484, the municipal authorities of Brescia decided to build a grandiose palace as an expression of good governance, replacing the original loggia and increasing the monumentality of the Piazza della Loggia, which was rising at the time.
The first project was presented by Tomaso Formentone, an architect from Vicenza. The project of Formentone involved the construction of a building entirely in wood, an option that was immediately abandoned.
The first stone was laid in 1492 and the construction site was directed, between about 1495 and 1510, by Filippo Grassi. The works were interrupted in 1512 by the sack of Brescia, to resume only in 1549.
The Loggia was completed in 1574 after numerous interventions by the most famous architects of the time, such as Jacopo Sansovino and Andrea Palladio, as well as Lodovico Beretta from Brescia. The latter was responsible for the large windows on the second floor.
The white Botticino marble facade of the palace is vertically composed of two distinct architectural sections. In the lower section, completed in 1501, there are a series of columns and pillars, interspersed with pendentives that house the cycle of the thirty Cesars, twenty-four sculpted by Gasparo Cairano and six by Tamagnino. The large arches of the loggia are open on three sides of the building.
The second level, corresponding to the late 16th century phase of the construction site, houses large pilasters framing large windows.
The wooden roof, covered with sheets of lead, in the shape of a hull, was built in 1914 to replace the temporary roof placed in 1769 by Luigi Vanvitelli.
A structure was added to the palace between 1503 and 1508, located on the northern side of the building, housing the original staircase for the upper hall of the Loggia. The portal at the street level is another work by Gasparo Cairano.
The portico at the base of the building is covered by cross vaults decorated with a cycle of keystones executed also by Gasparo Cairano between 1497 and 1502. Passing through the portico, we can see the portal designed by Stefano Lamberti in 1552, flanked by columns and two Botticino marble fountains by Nicolò da Grado, which introduces the Renaissance staircase designed by Antonio Tagliaferri in 1876.
On the upper floor, we enter the vast octagonal hall designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, known as the Salone Vanvitelliano, which has a wooden ceiling supported by eight brick columns placed at the four corners, resting on as many marble bases.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo della Loggia is located about 1.1 kilometer from the Brescia railway station. The closest Metro station is Vittoria, located about 160 meters away. The closest bus stop is located in Via Verdi, near the Metro station, on the bus Line 9.