Used as temporary housing for visitors to the Normale, the building is on the west side of Piazza dei Cavalieri and is the last structure surviving from the original system of university residences in Pisa: in 1604, Archbishop Carlo Antonio Dal Pozzo dedicated the building to the housing of students at the University of Pisa who came from the diocese of Biella, the Archbishop's birthplace.
The façade of the three-storey building still bears, on the upper part, the frescoes of the seventeenth century, originally designed to appear in continuum with the graffiti of Palazzo della Carovana and with the frescoes of Palazzo dell'Orologio. By now very much in decay, it was restored at the end of the nineteenth century and subsequently several times up until 1969, but most of the decorations have now been lost.
The residence was conceded to the Scuola Normale Superiore in 1930 during the period of renewal and expansion under Giovanni Gentile's directorship and thanks to negotiations with Cardinal Pietro Maffi, Archbishop of Pisa. During the Fascist era, the renovated "Collegio Mussolini di Scienze corporative" (“Mussolini College for Corporative Sciences”) admitted by call, as boarders, students of political, economic and legal doctrine, but all too soon – firstly with the Nazi occupation and later with the Anglo-American requisitioning – the Puteano was to serve as a provisional home for students and lecturers exiled from the Palazzo della Carovana.
With the liberation of Italy and the end of the requisitioning of the Normale, in 1945 the College took up its activities once more, with the new name of "Collegio Mazzini", changing its function over the years until finally, after further important restorations, it took on its present role as temporary housing for visitors.
Today it is also the site of the Centro di Ricerca Matematica Ennio De Giorgi (the Ennio De Giorgi Mathematical Research Centre), founded in 2001 thanks to a collaborative effort between the Scuola Normale Superiore, the University of Pisa and the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.