Despite the growing interest of modern scholars in early-Renaissance civic architecture as the bearer of meaning, the public buildings of Dubrovnik (It. Ragusa; Lat. Ragusium) have received less attention than their due. This is all the more regrettable because when some of the city's monuments are seen in their appropriate historical perspective, they turn out to be more important than many scholars would have expected.
My case in point is Dubrovnik's principal government building, the so-called Rector's Palace (Palatium regiminis, Knežev dvor, or the Palazzo de'Rettori) When the fortress-like structure, which had been built in the fourteenth century, was severely damaged in 1435 by a gunpowder explosion in the armory, the authorities immediately decided to erect a new palace. Its construction was entrusted to the state engineer Onofrio di Giordano della Cava of Naples, under whose direction it was virtually completed by 1452 — only to be severely damaged by another explosion of ammunition in 1463.