THE HISTORY OF THE UMBERTIDE MUNICIPAL OFFICES
Curated by Fabio Mariotti
The ancient municipal offices of Fratta
In 1189 Fratta was subjected to the jurisdiction of Perugia and had its own magistracies. The first seat of the Municipality, from the last years of the twelfth century until at least 1381, was at the end of the current Via Alberti, in the corner building between the door and the inner door of the Campana, at the top of the Piaggiola.
Subsequently the town hall moved in front of the Rocca (now Piazza Fortebracci),
in the building adjacent to the current theater, set back a few meters from today.
In 1435, with the suppression of the monastery of the nuns of Santa Maria di Castelvecchio which had its seat there, the Municipality appropriated some rooms of the building of the present theater where the mayor's residence was also.
In 1449 in the town hall there is a "lower room", used for prisons until 1815, when they will be moved to the Rocca. The municipal council met in the "upper room". The venue, in subsequent years, will also be granted for theatrical performances.
After 1500 a large wooden drawbridge anchored to iron hooks was lowered in the town square, built in the rear (west) part of the Rocca. A large sundial was placed on the facade of the town hall.
In 1760 the spaces used for municipal services began to prove insufficient, but only a few
years later it was possible to find a suitable location.
In 1787 Cardinal Angelelli suppressed the convent of Santa Maria Nuova, at the end of the Piaggiola, and the Municipality settled in those large rooms; at the beginning in the wing towards the Tiber, then the complex was renovated in the part along the road. The schools were also located on the first floor: they will remain there until the early decades of the twentieth century.
The history of the current Palazzo Comunale
At the end of the seventeenth century a disordered agglomeration of huts occupied the area where the Palazzo Comunale stands today. Today's Piazza Matteotti was only a small open space and did not symbolize the center of local power, which then gravitated around the Rocca.
The Marquises of Sorbello had the buildings located in the area of the current municipal residence by way of emphyteusis "up to the third generation", on the basis of a contract with the Bishop's canteen of Gubbio, owner of the buildings. On the basis of this contract, the old huts were demolished and the construction of the building began which was completed on April 29, 1720. From this date the building took the name of "Palazzo Bourbon di Sorbello" and the square in front of "Piazza del Marquis ". It consisted of three levels in addition to the ground floor. On the first, the noble residence and the reception rooms with walls and vaults decorated with frescoes, the other two floors intended for accommodation.
The palace, however, was inadequate to the needs of the Bourbon Marquises who, almost certainly, never became owners of the property. When the Municipality decided to occupy that seat, in the spring of 1841, it belonged, in fact, to Domenico Mavarelli who in the meantime had bought it from the Diocese of Gubbio. Mavarelli had held the position of First Prior of Fratta between 1832 and 1853. One of his relatives, Mauro, will be the first Mayor of united Italy, in 1861, and will remain at the center of city politics until 1887.
The municipal residence had moved in 1787 outside the city walls, in the suppressed female convent of Santa Maria Nuova, located in the current Via Grilli, at the end of the Piaggiola. This was undoubtedly an inadequate and unfortunate location.
The search for a more suitable and central location became urgent and on 17 December 1840 the City Council officially addressed the problem of moving to another location, proposing that of the "Palazzo del Marchese", now Mavarelli. The proposal, put to a vote, was approved by a majority. .
The move took place in the following March and a perpetual long lease agreement was stipulated, upon payment of an annual fee of 75 scudi to Domenico Mavarelli. The works of arrangement of the building began immediately on the various floors and as they ended the various municipal activities moved there. The municipal archive was placed on the third floor in 1843.
Since then, the ancient Bourbon palace of Sorbello has housed the Municipality.
Under the papal dominion, it was reserved for the Governor and his family, for the “Civil and Criminal Chancellery Offices” and for the Magistrate. On the second floor were the public schools, on the third the archives. While the upper rooms have had different arrangements over the years, the noble floor has remained unchanged over time, with a few variations that concern only the destination of the rooms. The Mayor's office and the Town Council hall have always remained in place, while that of the Giunta, around 1990, occupied the space intended for the secretariat of the mayor, leaving the traditional and historic hall, which housed the executive of the Liberation and the birth of the Republic, for meetings of the council groups and press conferences.
In 1923 some internal changes were made to the building and the wooden shed that cluttered the atrium was also removed. The paintings that recall ancient characters from Umberto were also restored and it was commissioned to prof. Frenguelli the execution of the two coats of arms in travertine, Italy and Umbertide, to be walled up between the central windows on the first floor.
The aerial bombardment of April 25, 1944 and subsequent ones spared this construction, which however was seriously damaged in many parts by other war events.
After the war, all the rooms were repaired and the frescoed vaults on the first floor were restored at a total cost of 1,500,000 lire.
Due to its degraded and dangerous conditions, on 21 September 1981 the restoration and consolidation works began which were completed on 10 November 1984, with the addition of the premises built on the ancient alley of the "Scudellari", purchased to make way for the offices for the new competences of the municipal administration.
The large atrium, where the information point is located and where the offices of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the Town Council look out, has completely frescoed vaults and on the walls a gallery of paintings representing some historical figures from Umberto I. In the Mayor's office, whose windows overlook Piazza Matteotti, you can admire some important paintings for the history of the city: "The market square" by Ernesto Freguglia dating back to 1875; a canvas depicting "San Romualdo, the Magdalene and the Virgin and Child" by an unknown artist; a drawing of Fratta seen from the north by Giovanni Santini from the first half of the 19th century. In the Giunta room, with its completely frescoed vaults, the gallery of Umbertide historical characters continues and an ancient and precious artistic ceramic heater is housed. The hall of the council groups has completely frescoed walls and vaults and is one of the most beautiful rooms in the entire Palazzo Comunale. The Town Council Hall occupies what was once the party hall, where the ancient owners used to entertain their guests. On the wall behind the counter reserved for the council, a large fresco represents the municipal coat of arms. At the top, on the side walls, there are monumental terraces.
The frescoes in the municipal halls were made in 1810 by the painter Montorsi of Perugia while Biagio Advantages of Gubbio created the sculptures on the main floor in 1842.
In 2016, with the municipal council led by the mayor Marco Locchi, seismic improvement and efficiency works have been started building of the municipal building, works completed in 2021 by the municipal council led by the mayor Luca Carizia. The palace is was reopened to the usability of citizens, completely renovated, in July 2021.
A Town Hall, that of Umbertide, which he knew then to preserve the best of its ancient and noble history by equipping however, over the years, their offices with the most modern tools IT systems to better respond to the legitimate needs of citizens users.
Historical calendar of Umbertide 2009