A fabulous example of one of the finest monuments of secular architecture in Dubrovnik is the Rector’s Palace.
This Gothic and Renaissance palace owes its present appearance to many additions and reconstructions throughout its history. A defence building once stood at the site of the present palace in the early Middles Ages. It was referred to in the Statutes of 1272 as castrum. In 1296 it was castellum i.e. fortress.
After the fire of 1435 which gutted the building and its towers, the government decided to build a new, more beautiful, palace. Onofrio della Cava, the master builder who had previously built the aqueduct, was entrusted to build the new palace. He designed a two-storey Gothic building with a pillared porch between two side towers. The beautiful capitals and sculptural ornaments of the palace were made by master Pietro di Martino of Milan.
The Rector’s Palace is home to the History Department of the Museum of Dubrovnik today. In addition to the style furniture, there are numerous portraits and coats of arms of the noblemen, paintings of old masters, coins minted by the Republic, the original keys of the city gates and a number of copies of important state documents.