Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), formally known as Piazza del Duomo and sometimes called Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles), is the most important square of Pisa. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the square includes the monuments called miracles by Gabriele d’Annunzio for their beauty and originality: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Baptistery of San Giovanni, Campo Santo and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The square is pedestrianized and is covered by a large lawn. It assumed its definitive appearance only in the 19th century, under the direction of the architect Alessandro Gherardesca, who demolished some pre-existing buildings and restored the famous monuments. SHORT HISTORY The square as we know it began to take shape in 1063, when the new cathedral of the city named after Santa Maria Maggiore was founded. At that time, the area remained outside the walls of the city, and was included only in 1156, when an expansion of the city walls was realized by the consul Cocco Griffi. Three years before the expansion of the walls, the construction of the new Baptistery also began, this time placed in front of the church. In 1173, the construction of Read more [...]
In Italy, a city square, commonly found at the meeting of two or more streets, is a piazza. Every Italian city has a piazza or more, with streets radiating from the center, with green areas and places to rest. As key points in a city, in the squares you can find shops and public transport stations, but the Italians use it especially for evening walks and meetings with friends. Also, the city’s main events take place in the central square.
The worlds best known square may be the Piazza San Marco, in Venice, but we must not forget other beautiful squares like Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Piazza del Campo in Siena, Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Prato della Valle in Padua, Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Piazza San Pietro in Vatican, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna in Rome, or Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples. Moreover, every town in Italy, no matter how small, has a beautiful main square that we invite you to discover.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a wonderful square in Lucca, built on the remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater, which determined its closed elliptical shape. SHORT HISTORY A large amphitheater was built here in the 1st or the 2nd century BC, under Emperor Claudius, and was finished in the Flavian period. The structure, with fifty-four arches and 18 rows of seats, could accommodate around 10,000 spectators. In the 6th century, during the Gothic Wars, under siege by the Byzantine general Narses, the amphitheatre was fortified by the closure of the outside arches. Following the shape of the ancient amphitheater, the square was born in the Middle Ages, and in this era was called parlascio, a word derived from the Latin paralisium, meaning amphitheater. Progressively, the square was filled with buildings, used as warehouses, shops or prison. In the 19th century, thanks to the architect Lorenzo Nottolini, was decided an urban renewal of the structure. The space of the arena was freed from the small buildings that crowded it and the Via dell’ Anfiteatro was built around it. The new space was used for the city market, until – in the first half of the 20th century – the market was moved Read more [...]
With its unique shell shape, Piazza del Campo, the main square in Siena, stands as one of most beautiful in Italy and the world. Renowed as the place where twice a year the Palio di Siena is held, Piazza del Campo is a perfect example of cultural and architectural integrity, invaluable for humanity. SHORT HISTORY The first documented information about the square is from 1169, that speaks about the arrangement of the Campo, referring both to the current Piazza del Campo and to the near Piazza del Mercato (the Market Square) as a singular area. From 1193, the area was divided in two, and until 1270, the space was used for fairs and markets. In 1262, the first measures to improve the layout of the square were taken, imposing among other things the obligation to build only mullioned windows and forbidding the construction of terraces. The history of the square is strongly intertwined with that of the Palazzo Pubblico, started in 1297 and finished in 1310. At the same time, private palaces were built in the square, Torre dell Mangia was raised between 1325 and 1344, and the square was paved in fishbone-patterned red brick and divided by eight Read more [...]
Piazza Napoleone, commonly known as Piazza Grande, is the main square of Lucca, the place where every year in July is held one of the most important music festivals in Italy, the Lucca Summer Festival. SHORT HISTORY In this area was built the vast Augusta Fortress, residence of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca in the first half of the 14th century. The huge complex, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by the population in 1370. Subsequently, the ruins of the Fortezza Augusta were restored by Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca, at the beginning of the 15th century, to create a new defensive structure. The new architectural complex was called Cittadella di Lucca, but it was partially destroyed as well after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, in 1429. Finally, on the ashes of the Citadel, the Palazzo Ducale was built, a palace which is still present today. The square was built in 1806, during the Napoleonic domination, by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, sister of the Emperor Napoleon. This is the reason why the square was named after the French emperor. Under the direction of the architect Giovanni Lazzarini and of the French Pierre-Theodore Bienimé, the square began Read more [...]
Piazza dei Cavalieri is, after the more famous Piazza dei Miracoli, the second most important square of the city of Pisa. In ancient times, the square represented the center of civil power, while starting from the second half of the 16th century it became the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, commissioned by the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. SHORT HISTORY Starting with 1140, Piazza dei Cavalieri became the heart of the municipality of Pisa, with buildings and churches used by the different magistrates of the city. After the seizure of power by the Pisan people in 1254, it was built by merging pre-existing buildings the Palazzo degli Anziani (Palace of the Elders), today the Palazzo della Carovana. The Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided in the nearby Palazzo dell’Orologio, which belonged to the Gualandi family and incorporated the famous Tower of Muda or Della Fame, where in 1289 the Count Ugolino died. The works for the complete transformation of the square began in 1558, after Cosimo I decided to dedicate it to the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen, founded with papal approval in 1562. Giorgio Vasari was comissioned to Read more [...]
Piazza Grande, one of the most beautiful squares in Tuscany, has been the focal point of public life in Arezzo since the ancient times. The Romanesque apse of the Church of Santa Maria della Pieve, built in the 12th century, dominates the west side of the square. Next to the church is the Baroque Palazzo del Tribunale (Palace of Justice) and a little further is the Palazzo della Fraternita dei Laici, where the Museum of the Fraternita dei Laici is located. On the north side, it can be found the Palazzo delle Logge built between 1573 and 1595 after a project by Giorgio Vasari. In front of the Palazzo delle Logge, across the square, there are a series of ancient buildings including the 13th century Torre Faggiolana, the Palazzo Cofani-Brizzolari and the Lappoli tower-house, also from the 13th century. In Piazza Grande, twice a year, in June and September, Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen) take place, a traditional festival with a medieval fragrance. HOW TO GET THERE As the main point of the historical center of Arezzo, Piazza Grande is not hard to find. The nearest bus station is Viale Buozzi Opp 5 – Prato, about 250 Read more [...]
When you arrive to Piazza della Repubblica, your eyes are instantly attracted by the impressive triumphal arch. Near the Arcone, you discover the gorgeous carousel from the beginning of the 20th century and, a little further, the Column of Abundance (Colonna della Dovizia), but this is not all. You have to turn around a few times and take a few breaths to perceive it as a whole. SHORT HISTORY Piazza della Repubblica is the center of the city since Roman times, when here was the forum which gathered the most important religious and civil buildings of that period. Over time, this area maintained its function as a meeting place, starting to host the market, which was institutionalized after the year 1000. Piazza della Repubblica it was defined as a public space intended for trade, while the square of the Duomo (Piazza del Duomo) was a place for politics and Piazza della Signoria for civil affairs. In the 16th century, the square was renamed Mercato Vecchio (Old Market), due to the construction of the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo near the Ponte Vecchio. Here was also the Jewish Ghetto, where Cosimo I had forced to reside the Jews in the city. Read more [...]