Essential Travel Experience #69 – Locate a City Hall

   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).

City Hall (Palazzo Vecchio)

Siena’s City Hall is the Palazzo Pubblico and can be found on the city’s main square, Piazza del Campo.

Palazzo Pubblico

San Marino’s city hall is also on a town square.

City Hall, San Marino

In Luxembourg City, City Hall is on the main square of the Old Town, Place de Armes.

City Hall, Luxembourg City

Delft City Hall is also located on the town’s main square

City Hall, Delft

as is the City Hall of Bruges, with its tall tower.

Town Hall, Bruges

Vienna’s City Hall is elaborately decorated at Christmas time.

City Hall, Vienna

Prague’s City Hall contains the famous Astronomical Clock.

City Hall, Prague

Rothenburg’s City Hall was being repaired when we visited.

Rothenburg City Hall

Basel’s City Hall is known as the Rathaus, the German word for city house.

Town Hall, Basel

Luzerne’s Town Hall is right in the city center.

Town Hall, Luzerne

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.

City Hall, Philadelphia

Portland, Maine’s imposing City Hall is only a few blocks from the historic port.

City Hall, Portland

Victoria, British Columbia, has a colorful and noticeable City Hall.

City Hall, Victoria


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