THE COMMUNAL PALACE



A pride of the town and yhe prestigious symbol of Pula is the Communal Palace on the Republic Square (the Forum), without which the entity of the historical centre would be empty. Frequently altering its appearance to confirm with the changes reflected in the mirror of time, the palace was completed in Gothic style in 1296. Not only time but the damage also are resulted in some changes; by the end of 15th century the palace had aquired Renaissance features and by the end of 17th, those of Baroque. Subsequent centuries were to bring their own mark and the periods of repair until finaly, in 1988, the palace was to shine again following further restoration that gave due respect to its architectural qualities. Embossed on the facade of the Communal Palace we can read, albeit in the language of stone, considerable detail of the history of the Pula.
Among the more interesting features presented to us by the walls of this harmonius edifice is that horsemen on the right. This knight of stone immortalizes the 13th century "President of the Town" (patriae praesses), whose name was Bartolomeus the Vitreo (or Vitrei) during whose administration "this honourable seat of two councils and court" was built.
More direct information regarding this flying rider in stone we can learn by reading the Latin text inscribed on a stone plaque positioned on the left of the palace facade, the final part of which is very instructive and symbolic: "Let harmony, therefore, warm the united citizenry, so that divided entrails will not corrupt the same mind".
Rising above this knightly image one's gaze is arrested by the rather grotesque figure of a telamon (a male figure used as a supporting column or a pilaster for an entablature), whose wretched and contorted form appears to be supporing on its head and shoulders not only the full weignt of the roof, but a good part of sky as well. A further frustration for him seems to be that he is unable to turn his eyes towards a Romanesque Siren who, concealed at the north east corner of the building, is supporting her stone fins with her hand.
Below Bartholomeus the horseman, near the base, we can see carved into the stone a proscription against tree felling and grazing in the vicinity of Pula, dating from the period of the Venetian rule.