In 1200, Bologna’s municipality expropriated several houses and churches to create Piazza Maggiore and erected the first complex of palaces destined specifically for public administrative purposes - Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo di Re Enzo and Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo.
Palazzo Re Enzo
Referred to as "Palazzo Nuovo" (New Palace) to distinguish it from the Palazzo del Podestà, it was built between 1244 and 1246 (at the same time as Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo) as an extension of the other municipal buildings. Just three years later, it became the "Residenza" of the imprisoned king of the battle of Fossalta: King Enzo of Sardinia, son of Federico II who spent the next twenty-three years until his death in 1272 (many legends about this historical figure flourished in popular literature). The war machines belonging to the army and the Carroccio were preserved on the ground floor, while the sessions of the People's Council were held in the open gallery on the first floor, accessed by a covered staircase. The Sala del Trecento (now Sala degli Atti) was created by Antonio di Vincenzo in 1386 and was later used to house the municipal archive. The top floor was completely restored in 1771 by G.G. Dotti. The restorations carried out in 1905 by Alfonso Rubbiani, who restored the gothic appearance of the building, were consistent: he rebuilt the battlements, the arches on the ground floor and the 15th-century staircase. On the right-hand side of the building you can find the entrance to the chapel of Santa Maria dei Carcerati, where those condemned to death were sent.