Palazzo Maffei, Verona

The Palazzo Maffei is situated across the west side of the Piazza delle Erbe in Verona, Italy. Built in the Baroque style, it is a very rich and ornate building. The Maffei family was one of the most prominent in Verona, and were of German origin, they had close ties to the city of Rome and this explains the sophisticated style of the palace which was so much in contrast to other buildings in Verona at the time. A building had exsisted on this spot in the 15th century but in December 1469 the nobleman Marcantonio Maffei decided to expand by adding a third floor, construction was only completed in 1668. The ornate facade is made up of arches and elegant balconies and is decorated with large, elaborate masks. At the top of the building is a balustrade with six statues of the gods – Hercules, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Apollo and Minerva, these were cut from local Veronese marble excepting Hercules who is thought to have been brought to Verona from the ancient temple on Capitoline Hill in Rome. The interior houses a Helicoidal stone staircase which leads from the cellar all the way up to the roof.

On the site of the palace in Roman times there was the Temple dedicated to Jupiter, his wife Juno and their daughter Minerva. Only a few years ago the base of the imposing temple was discovered a few metres below the cellars of the restaurant now occupying the ground floor of the Palazzo Maffei. It is unclear whether, at the time of construction, they had been aware of this fact but there does seem to be a clue in the fact that they placed the statues of the gods at the top of the building.

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