The Palazzo della Ragione has a quadrangular plant with an inner courtyard; was protected by four corner towers of which today only two remain: Torre dei Lamberti and Torre Cappella.
It was built on Roman private houses, in 1138 or in 1193, as indicated by the two walled tombstones on the palace. It was purchased by the City of Verona in the 12th century and became the seat of the city hall and the city council, that is why it is the oldest public building in Italy.
During the Venetian period, it had different functions. It was the seta of the Court of First Instance and a Prison, the headquarters of the College of Notaries and the Taxation Chamber, the Office of Duty, Silk and Health, becoming the place where tort and justice were decided. On each side of the palace there is a lion mouth, a sort of “mailbox” to put secret allegations against those who broke the law, one was for usurers, another one for those who traded silk out of the Venetian monopoly and the last one was for smugglers of gunpowder.
In 1447, the majestic Scala della Ragione was built in late-Gothic style, while the courtyard housed the grain market. The frescoed Chapel of Notaries, with works by famous painters of Verona and not, is a real jewel.
In 2014 it became the seat of the Achille Forti Modern Art Gallery.