Stories and Secrets of Viterbo
Piazza del Gesu
Stop for a moment in the centre of the Piazza del Gesu.
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Have a look to the far side of the piazza, where you will see the simple facade of the Gesù church. Its topped with two lion figures and arched bell tower.
Now its no longer a working church. But it was the site of the assassination of Henry of Cornwall in 1271, which is mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy.
The fountain in the center of the piazza may seem very old, but looks can be deceiving. It was actually set up in 1915, using pieces of an earlier one taken from a nearby convent.
Have a look to your right.
The 6 storey stone building at the entrance to the piazza is the Borgognone tower.
Viterbo and other towns like San Gimignano, used to have a skyline full of towers. Powerful families built them as status symbols, to show off their economical might.
Every building along this stretch of Via San Lorenzo has architectural details from medieval times. You can see this in the columns inserted into the facades, the closed arches and medieval walls.
Feel free to spend some time here in the Piazza. When you're ready, head back into Via San Lorenzo, turn right and continue walking.