Palazzo Ragione, Verona: Courtyard with the Scala della Ragione
Palazzo della Ragione (literally: "Palace of Reason") is a common designation for those buildings that, in Italian medieval communes, where dedicated to administrative and judiciary functions ("Domus Communis"). It is almost square in plan with a large courtyard. In the courtyard facade it has alternate courses of stone and brick typical of Romanesque style. In 1218 a fire damaged it, but it was rebuilt the following year. During Venetian domination, the Palace became the seat (in addition to the City Administration), of the civil and penal courts, the prison, the College of Notaries (with its own Chapel, which still exists in the northeaster corner of the Palace), the silk customs offices, the Fiscal Chamber, the public granaries, the salt deposits, the Office of Health and others. In 1447 the Scala della Ragione (a Late Gothic staircase in red marble) was built inside the courtyard, under the Lamberti Tower (1172).