The palace was built in 1225, when Massa Marittima was still a Free City. Within the travertine walls of the building, the podestà
(the mayor) administered justice and imprisoned the convicted in the dungeon of the building, which can still be seen today.
Until 1970, the Palazzo del Podestà
has been a prison and the seat of the Pretura
(magistrate’s court). The façade features the coats of arms representing the various podestà
who governed the city.
On the top of the façade is the coat of arms representing Siena: the white and black emblem and the lion of the Sienese people, a symbol of their supremacy in Massa Marittima, conquered in 1335.
The ancient rooms of the palace now house the Archeological Museum: in the section dedicated to Prehistory you can see the mysterious stone Stele di Vado all’Arancio
, while the Etruscan section hosts the finds coming from the excavations in the mining village near the lake Accesa and dating back to the VII century BC.