Government palace & public palace
Palazzo Pubblico, started in 1884 and finished ten years later, serves as government palace and is also known as the Public Palace. The creation of San Marinese quarrymen originated from a plan of the Roman architect Francesco Azzurri on the same place where the original 16th century building used to stand. The poet Giosuè Carducci delivered his famous speech “About Freedom” during the ceremonial inauguration on 30 September 1894.
San Marinese stones were used for the Florentine, neo-Gothic building. Three pointed arches are supported by octagonal pillars. They are decorated with the coats of arms of the castles of Serravalle, Fiorentino, Montegiardino, and Faetano. Figurines of Saint Quirinus, Saint Leo and Saint Agatha can be seen on the bell tower.
The inside of the Palazzo is vested in grand, medieval style with numerous portraits of famous personalities and commemorative plaques. The main floor features the government hall, where the Grand and General Council meets. The throne of the Capitani Reggenti is located underneath a fresco depicting the national saint Marinus. He’s holding a book in his hand with the motto “Reliquo vos liberos ab utroque homine” (“I leave you free from both men”) – a sentiment referring to both of his suppressors, emperor and pope. The Ballot Chamber followed by spiral stairs lead up onto the bell tower offering a breathtaking panoramic view far across the city limits.
Piazza della Libertà with Statue of Liberty
Palazzo Pubblico is located on Piazza della Libertà, the Liberty Square on Pianello, in whose midst the Statua della Libertà, the Statue of Liberty by sculptor Stefano Galletti, is standing. It is composed of white Carrara marble and was donated by Countess Otilia Heyroth Wagener from Berlin in 1876. The city goddess, which is pictured on the San Marinese two-cent coin, shows a forward marching, classic warrior with a mural crown – a symbol for municipal self-determination – on her head. She holds a flag in her left hand and protectively thrusts out the right one.
Ceremony of the changing of the guard
From the beginning of June to the end of September, the ceremonial changing of the guard, the Guardia di Rocca or Fortress Guard, takes place hourly at every half hour from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm. Their uniform is particularly imposing with green jackets, red trousers, and black caps with red and white panache.