Vicopisano's Palazzo Pretorio of Vicopisano is one of the most representative civil buildings constructed in the Province of Pisa in Middle Ages. Furthermore, the many historical events linked to the Vicariate of Vicopisano since 1400 have left in the palace interesting historical and artistic testimonies which deserve a further analysis.
The most ancient part of the complex can be identified in the big building made in “verrucano” stone which can be dated back to the 12th and the 13th century. It is characterized by three pointed arches which connect in the upper part by four pillars in “verrucano” stone that cross its typical ochre façade.
From the existing front part of the palace of beam housings and stone corbels, we can assume the presence of wooden balconies, (sporti), a common feature used at the time, that allowed to gain more space on the outside. The stone corbels are decorated with anthropomorphic (a hand) or geometrical (ribbons and knots) patterns.
Unfortunately there are no printed documents concerning its first destination. According to a recent theory, however, it could have been a visible demonstration of the feudal power that the Archbishops of Pisa had on Vico from the 11th to the 13th century. This could be testified by the imposing dimension of the building – a sign of the proprietor’s wealth – and moreover by its prominent location on the top of the hill dominating the “castellum” of Vicopisano.
To support the theory of the relationship between the Palace and the Archbishops of Pisa there is also the proximity of the building to the tower of Santa Maria (later englobed in the Rocca of Brunelleschi), which belonged to the Archbishopric (at least since 1170). Owning that tower, the Archbishops of Pisa created both a military and civil complex, affirming in that way their secular rule.
Ma questa rimane sempre una ipotesi giustificata dalla totale assenza nei documenti di riferimenti certi a questo Palazzo, che entra nella “storia” solamente con il XV sec.: siamo all’indomani della conquista fiorentina di Vico (1406), that the “lilied” Republic was intent on reorganizing the territory of Pisa, which had become part of the domain of Florence.