Next to the Duomo, where in the past the bishop’s vegetable garden was located, you can find Piazza Broilo. The name derives from ‘broilum’, medieval Latin word that means small cultivated field.
The square is characterized by a cobblestone paving which reminds of the near Adige river, and it’s surrounded by two majestic façades: ‘palazzo degli Asili’, built in neoclassical style in the last decades of ’800, and, on the south side, ‘Casa Cerù’, described as ‘beautiful palace of ’500 that stands out for the rectangular windows with red marble jambs and for its central balcony featuring a baroque rounded railing with a mixtilinear arch door’. (*)
From archival research it seems that the current building name stems from the name of the aristocratic family living there in the middle of ’800. We have found memories of jovial and elegant parties held on the roof turret with musicians and delicious dishes. In reminiscence of those times a jingle bell, rung by the hosts to call the domestic staff residing on the upper floor, is still visible in a high courtyard corner.
During the Second World War air raids (1944), the deep building basement was used as bomb shelter by the citizens: looking carefully at the left of the main entrance door you can still see faint traces of the ‘R’ letter (for italian ‘rifugio’) indicating its presence.
At the top of an internal fireplace, no longer in use, there is a frieze made of ‘rosso Verona’ marble depicting a shield decorated with three wheels, placed under a baron crown, and having at its sides two doves resting on vine shoots.
Just out of curiosity, we report that in the 1984 movie ‘Uno scandalo perbene’ by Pasquale Festa Campanile, inspired by the 1926 story called in Italian ‘Lo smemorato di Collegno’ (The amnesiac from Collegno), there is a scene in front of Palazzo Cerù where two detectives halt the count Guarienti (played by Franco Fabrizi) when he comes out of the main door. On that occasion, for historical consistency, the ‘R’ letter was wiped off from the façade of the palace.
Palazzo Cerù was a consulate of Austria branch office until 2016 and currently houses a well-known restaurant.
(*) L. Simeoni (“Verona: guida storico artistica”); F. dal Forno (“Case e palazzi di Verona”).