City Halls around the world are some of the most dramatic buildings you can find in a city. Because they are the center of the local government, citizens put a great deal of effort into their construction. Some are incredibly creative and different; others are staid and traditional, but almost all are memorable.
I always try to include city halls in my walking tours of a city or town, because I am always curious about the architecture of the building and how it fits in with the rest of the city.
So join me on a tour of some of these city halls, to get a flavor for the essence of a place, and I think you will agree that these structures should be included in everyone’s itinerary while visiting an urban area.
Let’s begin with a few city halls in Italy. Florence’s city hall was once the Palazzo Vecchio (palazzo = palace).
Siena’s City Hall is the Palazzo Pubblico and can be found on the city’s main square, Piazza del Campo.
San Marino’s city hall is also on a town square.
In Luxembourg City, City Hall is on the main square of the Old Town, Place de Armes.
Delft City Hall is also located on the town’s main square
as is the City Hall of Bruges, with its tall tower.
Vienna’s City Hall is elaborately decorated at Christmas time.
Prague’s City Hall contains the famous Astronomical Clock.
Rothenburg’s City Hall was being repaired when we visited.
Basel’s City Hall is known as the Rathaus, the German word for city house.
Luzerne’s Town Hall is right in the city center.
In the United States, many City Halls are more about function than about design. However, there are some notables. Check out Philadelphia’s City Hall, with a statue of William Penn atop its tower.
Portland, Maine’s imposing City Hall is only a few blocks from the historic port.
Victoria, British Columbia, has a colorful and noticeable City Hall..