In 1435, on the southern part of the square, sellers of cloths and linen appeared, placing their wooden huts there. In 1481, the Municipality of Brescia built a long arcade with residences for the shopkeepers on the first floor. In 1558, a similar structure was built on the northern part of the square, where Lodovico Beretta erected a palace with the same function, known today as Palazzo Beretta.
During the 17th century, the last two monumental buildings in the square were built: the Church of the Madonna del Lino, in the southern part, in 1608, and the Martinengo Palatini Palace in the western part, began in 1672, but completed only in 1710.
At the beginning of the 19th century, other interventions were made to the square: the wooden huts leaning against the buildings were eliminated, the arcades were paved and, in the center, a large fountain was built after a design by Giovanni Donegani with the statue of Abundance by Giovanni Antonio Labus.
The bombardments of the Second World War seriously damaged the square and its monuments: the left wing of Palazzo Martinengo Palatini collapsed, the Church of the Madonna del Lino was damaged on the north side, while the market was completely destroyed. The palace and the church were restored in the following years, while the covered market was abandoned and, in the 1960s, a commercial building was built in its place.
In 1985, the University of Brescia acquired Palazzo Martinengo Palatini and, after a long period of restoration, established here the Rectorate and some administrative offices in 2000. In 2011, the square, until then used as a parking lot, was made a pedestrian zone, as part of a broader pedestrianization program in the historic center.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza del Mercato is located about 750 meters from the Brescia railway station. The closest Metro station is Vittoria, about 110 meters away, and the closest bus stop is in Via Giuseppe Verdi, about 70 meters away, on the bus Line 9.