The building and its functions
The Palazzo dei Consoli, (originally called Palazzo del Popolo), Piazza Grande and the Palazzo del Podestà together form one of the most majestic and audacious building projects carried out in the Middle Ages, bearing witness to the ambitious nature of Gubbio’s political and institutional objectives at the beginning of the 14th century. The construction of the monumental building complex was originally decided upon between 1321 and 1322, work began in 1332 and involved highly skilled professionals like the architect Angelo da Orvieto, whose name appears inscribed above the main entrance to the Palazzo, and Matteo di Giovanello, known as “Gattapone”, a native of Gubbio, who acted as surveyor at a later stage. The new buildings were situated in the centre of the town so that all four civic districts, (San Martino, Sant’Andrea, San Pietro and San Giuliano), should border on them. This required alterations to the natural layout of the site and the construction of the suspended square connecting the Palazzi. Palazzo dei Consoli, built in Gothic style, dominates the town from its height of 60 metres with its bell tower and panoramic loggia. From the outset it was intended to be the seat of government of the Free Commune of Gubbio housing all the official courts and institutions. The General Assembly of the People, the representative body of the citizenry, met in the Sala dell’Arengo or Great Hall. Upstairs were the residences and offices of the Gonfaloniere and the Consuls. The rooms on a level with Piazza Grande were reserved for the use of the Capitano del Popolo, while those level with Via Gattapone housed the troops under his control. The building also had a chapel, several toilets and a plumbing system supplying the water fountains on the upper floors
The Museum Collection
Since 1909 the Palazzo dei Consoli has housed the Civic Museum. The collection dates back to 1456 when the representatives of the Commune purchased the celebrated Iguvine Tables, and over the centuries has accumulated other objects thanks to donations, acquisitions and a large number of artworks belonging to religious orders or congregations that are kept there. The collection is now arranged in various sections occupying the five floors of the Palazzo and illustrates the history and culture of Gubbio and its people from prehistoric times to the present day.