At the heart of the city is enchanting, porticoed Piazza del Duomo, a Venetian renovation of the early 16th century dominated by the brick facade of the medieval Duomo.

To the left of the cathedral rises the Torre Pretoria, a family watchtower dating to 1286 that bears a sculpture of the lion of St Mark. The porticoes across the way belong to the early 16th-century Palazzo Comunale – as ever, the secular arm of power looks the Church straight in the eye. The Torrazzo (Big Tower) had a defensive role but was reworked in baroque form in the 17th century and became purely decorative.