It always had a prince, no doubt, but he was engaged by formal contract without much attention being paid to hereditary rights, and he was merely leader of the troops, while all the political power remained in the hands of the civil officials and the Vetche, a popular assembly which was called together in the market-place, as occasion required, by the tolling of the great bell.
Of the Cistercian priory, founded about 1165 by Cospatric of Dunbar, and destroyed by the 1st earl of Hertford in 1545, which stood a little to the east of the present market-place, no trace remains; but for nearly four hundred years it was a centre of religious fervour.
The principal market-place in the city (Piazza del Mercato) has taken possession of the arena of the ancient amphitheatre, the outer arches of which can still be seen in the surrounding buildings.
He accordingly surrendered to the Russian general Demitrius Buturlin (1790-1849), by whom he was handed over to the Austrians, who shot him in the market-place of Arad a few days later.
The market-place (now Piazza Garibaldi) contains the Gothic Palazzo Vecchio or Broletto; close by are the cathedral (1614) and a small baptistery of 1340, rebuilt in 1898.