Italy Palazzo della Mercanzia

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Sue Wolfe

About this spot
The Palazzo della Mercanzia was converted to the Merchants’ Exchange and Customs House in the 14th century. The Mercantile Tribunal met here and had the task of settling all trade matters and disputes. Judgments were publicly announced from the white marble balcony after ringing the Lucardina Bell. Those found guilty of fraudulent bankruptcy were tied to a stake and exposed to public ridicule in the square.

The Gothic-styled building features statues of the city’s patron saints who smiled on the economy once based on gold, textiles, silk, and hemp. The central statue represents justice.

The building has seen a few repairs during its six centuries. In 1484, the nearby Torre de’Bianchi collapsed causing considerable damage. And in 1949, part of the façade fell after a WWII bomb, found in the neighborhood, accidentally detonated.

The palace safeguards the original recipes of some of the region’s best-known specialties—tagliatelle al ragù, Bolognese sauce, and Bolognese green lasagna.

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