Alessandria attractions also include the Palatium Vetus, which was originally the center of political, administrative and judiciary life of the city in medieval times. The building was constructed around the year 1170, around the same time of the foundation of the city. It was divided into two parts and included the armory, called the “Pavaglione” and a few administrative offices. It occupied quite a bit of space throughout the city, with its various buildings and internal courtyards.
The offices of the Podestà (something like the Chief Magistrate) were headquartered here, as well as the “People’s Captain” (Capitano del Popolo). From the 12th to the 14th centuries Judiciary offices (Courts) were housed here, as well as prisons. After various hand-offs, the building was finally ceded to the State by the Municipality in 1856. Some of the rooms were sold to private individuals, while another part of the building was given to the Division Command Guards. Starting in the 1700s, various shops started opening up in some of the old rooms of the building, while the rest of the building is now awaiting its new function.