The Domus Mercatorum is a compact brick building, surmounted by a characteristic Ghibelline battlements and surrounded on the ground floor by a large colonnade. It is located on Piazza delle Erbe, the heart of the historic center of Verona, of which it characterizes one side with its presence.
Commune and Scala Family Age
Scala family took power in Verona from 1259, establishing one of the first Signoria (government of the lords) in Italy. They belonged to local bourgeoisie, the social class of merchants, craftsmen, notaries, accountants and lawyers, who had gradually joined the noble landowners in the public administration of the city. The Scaligeri, once they had taken power and settled the feuds of the ancient faction rivalries, tried as much as possible to promote the economic development of Verona with laws and statutes. They also built the Domus Mercatorum, the house of merchants. It is a solid masonry building where the guilds of arts and crafts met to deal with problems relating to the administration of economic life in the city, draw up statutes and trade regulations, resolve disputes.
The Domus Mercatorum is located right in the economic heart of medieval Verona, Piazza delle Erbe, the market square where in Roman times there was the forum, the square in the center in the typical network of parallel and perpendicular streets. Initially, the Domus Mercatorum was a simple wooden construction. In 1301 Alberto I della Scala, in order to give more prestige to the merchant class from which had originated the power of his house, decided to build the brick building in the typical style of the time, with the Ghibelline battlements on top, and the ground floor surrounded by a large porch with arches and columns.
At the end of the 19th century, after the annexation of the Veneto region to the Italian kingdom, Verona underwent a major restoration campaign to restore part of its medieval appearance. The Domus Mercatorum was also restored. The building was freed from the additions and alterations that had been made over the centuries in various architectural styles, and brought back to what it used to be its original appearance. Until recently, the Verona Chamber of Commerce was located on the upper floor of the Domus Mercatorum, in honor of its original use.
Most of the guided tours proposed by the tourist guides of Verona include the central Piazza delle Erbe, of which the main buildings and monuments are illustrated, including the Domus Mercatorum. On sunny Summer days, its large loggia offers a shady shelter from which you can still enjoy the beauty of the square.
For more information and details on guided tours in Verona and in the province, do not hesitate to contact the tourist guides of Verona.