The town centre

The heart of the historical centre of Valentano is represented by Piazza Cavour, known as Piazza del Comune, and Largo Paolo Ruffini. From here, you can take one of the straight roads which crosses the town centre: Saint Mary and the so-called Via di Mezzo (the Central road); either you can take the Selciata, that is the paved way to the Fortress and the Farnese Castle.

The Town Hall
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The Town Hall

The town hall was built around the year 1552 and the original building was represented by a Portico the first floor. At the beginning of 1700, the building was widened in order to house the judicial offices, which had been moved to this centre after the destruction of the ancient town of Castro.
Above the Portico there is an artistic balcony with a rail in beaten iron, dating back to the XVIIth century. Under the Portico, some important historical evidences such as the 1400 civic coat of arms, coming from the fountain of Acquaiela (a medieval term which indicates a source of icy water); the coat of arms of pope Martino V Colonna, with the Farnesan shield (this was hung, in origin, on the main door of access to the town, in 1417); a fifteenth century coat of arms of the Farnese with the traditional six lilies; the coat of arms of pope Paolo III (Alessandro Farnese who became pope in 1534 and died in 1549). There’s also a headstone in memory of the soldiers of Valentano who died in World War I and whose text was written by Fausto Salvatori, author of the well-known Hymn to Rome.
The staio (measure of capacity of stone) and the canna castrense (linear measure recovered from the Dukedom of Castro) once set under this portico, are now preserved in the Medieval and Renaissance section of the Civic Museum.

The Magenta Door

Piazza Polo Ruffini is closed in by the Magenta Door, an important monument built in 1779 to replace the ancient Roman Door collapsed in 1774, on the base of a sketch made by Vignola.

The entrance to the Plaza Paolo Ruffini through the arc of Magenta Door

Above the arch, on the external side facing Via Roma, you can see the famous Mascherone (big Mask).

Magenta Door, once Roman Door, was built on Vignola's design

According to an old folk tale, the artist, annoyed by the curiosity and the endless complaints of the inhabitants, wanted to stigmatise, through this image, the evil tongue of the local people.

The Mascherone  The Mascherone