If you visit Italy you won’t be surprised to realize the wonder you will find in taking a break in an italian piazza. Only if you personally experience the pleasure of spending your time in there you would understand the importance italians give to this special place.
In few words foran italian it’s a second home and as such is absolutely the best meeting point, where you can take delight in where you will probably find cluster of people enjoying their time. Everyone, regardless of gender, age, economics or social class, is welcome—including tourists.
La piazza is always the setting for some of your memorable moments in Italy.
That’s why we made a list of the most fascinating squares in Italy we suggest to visit … Of course the itinerary proposed it’s not in order of importance I swear that would be impossible to determine! They all are authentic treasures of great artistic and historic beauty.
Italy’s Best Known Piazze
Piazza del Plebiscito
Piazza del Plebiscito is one of the largest city squares in Naples. It is named for the plebiscite taken on October 2 in 1863 that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy under the house of Savoy.
Piazza della Signoria
Located very closely to the gulf of Naples, it is bounded on the east by the Royal Palace and on the west by the church of san Francesco di Paola with colonaddes extending to both sides.
Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. It was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio.
It is the focal point of the origin and of the history of the Florentine republic and still mainains its reputation as the political hib of the city. It is the meeting place of Folirentines as well as the numerous tourists, located near the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and gateway to Uffizi Gallery.
I like to imagine it in the Italian Renaissance, when Il Magnifico, Lorenzo de’Medici, filled the piazza with masquerades, revels, pageants and processions. “If ever history could be happy, it was then,” wrote one historian.
Piazza del Duomo in Lecce
Piazza del Duomo in Lecce is one of the sporadic case of closed piazza giving the idea of a big courtyard which date back to the time of the bishop Gerolamo Guidano.
You can be introduced in the piazza through a “propileo”, realized at the end of the XVIII century by Emanuele Manieri, after the great original entrance wall had been demolished.
One of the main trait of Piazza Duomo in Lecce is its Baroque style with a majestic bell tower of the episcopacy and “palazzo del seminario”.
Piazza San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro no doubt is the most famous square in the world. This massive square located in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City surrounded by Rome.
It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini including the massive Tuscan colonnades, four columns deep, which gave the impression of embracing visitors “in the maternal arms of Mother Church”.
A granite fountain constructed by Bernini in 1675 matches another fountain designed by Carlo Madreno dating to 1613. At the centre of the square there is the Egyptian obelisk erected in 1568.
Piazza del Duomo in Milan
Piazza del Duomo in Milan has been from over seven centuries this city square the focal centre of Milanese life. The piazza marks the center of the city, both in a geographic sense and because of its importance from an artistic, cultural, and social point of view.
In its overall area of 17000 m2 of rectangular shape, the piazza includes some of the most important buildings of Milan (and Italy in general), as well some of the most prestigious commercial activities, and it is by far the foremost tourist attraction of the city.
You could admire the Dome and the equestrian monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II. On the side of the square one the most notable of Mengoni’s design Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade.
Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno
Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno it is a well known city square in Italy for its peculiar Renaissance architecture style.
It took the name from the old building of Palazzo dei Capitani del popolo with its Medieval crenellated tower wich surround the area with the ancient Caffè Meletti in liberty style.
Piazza Navona in Rome
From 1652 to 1866, Piazza Navona in Rome, which hosted theatrical shows and horse races, was flooded on August weekends for elaborate nautical feats. Three fountains keep alive the piazza’s aquatic history.
Most famous is La Fontana dei Fiumi (fountain of the rivers), with four giant statues representing rivers in the four quarters of the world: the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Rio della Plata. Look for the fountain and Piazza Navona in cameo roles in Ron Howard’s upcoming film based on Dan Brown’s thriller Angels and Demons.
Prato della Valle in Padova
Prato della Valle in Padova an ellectical square of 90,000 the largest square in Italy and one of the largest of Europe.
Today the square is a large space with a green island at the center defined l’Isola Memmia, surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues.
Piazza San Marco in Venezia
Piazza San Marco in Venezia the most romantic city square in Italy Napoleon described this timeless piazza as “the finest drawing room in Europe.”
The Piazza is dominated at its eastern end by the great church of St Mark. It’s here which resides the artistic treasures of the city: the bell tower, the Basilica and Palazzo Ducale a real combination of history architecture and charm in one amazing piazza.
Piazza Ducale in Vigevano
Franco Iseppi, the president of the italian touring Club made the best description of this piazza “A city square which create beauty and communicate spirituality”.
If you want a deeper sense of how Italians live, find a comfortable spot on a pretty piazza and just wait. Or engage in another Italian pastime: strolling le vie di mezzo (the streets in the middle) that lead from one piazza to another. You never know what delights you may find along the way.
This feature is adopted from Secret Italy