With 88,620 square meters, Prato della Valle is the largest square in Europe and one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. The current configuration dates back to the late 18th century and is characterized by a central elliptical island, called Memmia island, surrounded by a canal on whose banks is a double ring of statues, with an outer circumference of 1450 meters. SHORT HISTORY In the Roman times, the area was known as Campo Marzio, named after Mars, the god of war, because it was used as a place for military meetings. Since the 12th century, various shows and games have been documented in Prato. From 1257, horse races are held here to commemorate the liberation from the tyranny of Ezzelino III da Romano. In 1310 a more extensive intervention in the area was carried out under the guidance of Fra Giovanni Eremitano. Between the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century, the town’s forgery was built near the Prato. During the 15th century, an imposing palace was built on the northern corner of Prato, as the residence of Cardinal Bessarione, now known as Palazzo Angeli. In 1498, the old Basilica of Santa Giustina 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.
St. Mark’s Square is so famous that it does not need yet another presentation. A collection of religious, cultural, historical symbols, and a symbol in itself, this square is the dream of millions of tourists who are preparing for the road. Whoever you ask about Venice, or even better about the most important place in Venice, well, that person would give you one answer: Piazza San Marco. SHORT HISTORY By the 9th century, St. Mark’s Square was just a small free area in front of the St. Mark’s Basilica. It was to be enlarged to the present form only in 1177, when the two canals that interrupted it were filled. This change was made with the occasion of the visit of Pope Alexander III and Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who met in Venice to sign a truce. In 1797, Venice was under French occupation, and the Procuratie Nuove building in San Marco Square became the residence of the Emperor Napoleon and his stepfather, Eugene de Beauharnais. Napoleon built a new wing, called Ala Napoleonica, facing towards Basilica di San Marco. The square was paved for the first time in the second part of the 12th century, and the Read more [...]
Piazza della Frutta (Fruit Square), once called Piazza del Peronio, is a beautiful square in Padua, dominated by the imposing Palazzo della Ragione. Together with the nearby Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza della Frutta was, for centuries, the commercial center of the city. SHORT HISTORY The area was inhabited since pre-Roman times, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds. According to some, it was a site of trade already during the Roman age, but owes its current conformation to a period between the 10th and 11th centuries. The square was occupied by numerous shops and stalls, selling all kinds of goods, especially vegetables and fruits. With the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione at the beginning of the 13th century, an attempt was made to arrange the various points of sale – under the hall, the sellers of fabrics and fur were installed, the vendors of poultry and game to the east, the sellers of fruits and vegetables to the west, while the removable stalls with leather were placed in the center of the square. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the medieval houses enclosing the square were renovated, with the rectification of the arcades. In the first half of the Read more [...]
Piazza delle Erbe, also known in the past as Piazza delle Biade (Corn Square), Piazza del Vino (Wine Square) or Piazza della Giustizia (Justice Square), is a beautiful square in Padua, located in the historical center of the city. The square is dominated by the magnificent Palazzo della Ragione. SHORT HISTORY The area dates back to pre-Roman times, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds. Although the place was destined for trade since the imperial age, its current conformation dates back to a period between the 9th and the 11th centuries. After the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione at the beginning of the 13th century, the various shops were reorganized – under the portico of the palace, the sellers of fabrics and fur were installed, the sellers of wrought iron in the east of the square, the sellers of wine in the west, while the stalls with grains and leather were installed in the center of the square. The goldsmiths were located under the portico of the Palazzo del Podestà, built also in the 13th century in the eastern side of the square. In the 18th century, the arcades of the medieval houses located to the south of Read more [...]
Piazza dei Signori is the main square of Vicenza, located in the historical center of the city. Originally a Roman forum and then a market, the square is best known today for the Basilica Palladiana, the grandiose work of Andrea Palladio. The square has a rectangular shape and is delimited to the southwest by the Palladian Basilica and the Bissara Tower, while on the opposite side we can find the Loggia del Capitaniato and the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà, which incorporates the beautiful Church of San Vincenzo. SHORT HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE In antiquity, the area of Piazza dei Signori was the site of the Roman forum of Vicetia. Later, during the Middle Ages, the area was called Perònio, and was the center of the political, commercial and social life of the city. The oldest building in the square is the Bissara Tower (Torre Bissara), built in 1174 at the behest of the Bissara family, next to their palace. In the 13th century, the municipality of Vicenza bought both the palace and the tower. After escaping the terrible earthquake of January 25, 1348, the tower was raised around the middle of the 15th century, reaching its current height. Near Read more [...]
Piazza dei Signori, also known as Piazza Dante, is a beautiful square located in the historical center of Verona, adjacent to Piazza delle Erbe. SHORT HISTORY The square was formed in the Middle Ages, and was gradually defined by the palaces that were built around it. The first building, erected near the end of the 12th century, was the Palazzo della Ragione, followed between the 13th and 14th centuries by the palaces built by the powerful family of Della Scala, Lords of Verona. From the beginning, the square assumed political and administrative functions, and became the most important place in the city during the Venetian domination. Around the middle of the 17th century, a fountain was built by Pietro Tedesco in the center of the square. However, by the turn of the century, it was decided that it was insufficient to decorate such a monumental square, and the fountain was demolished. In 1865, a new monument was built in the center of the square – the statue of the Italian poet Dante Aligheri, work of the sculptor Ugo Zannoni. ARCHITECTURE In the southern corner of the square, we can find the Palazzo della Ragione, which was built at Read more [...]
Piazza Bra is the largest square in Verona, located in historical center of the city. The most important structure in the square is, without doubt, the famous Roman amphitheater known as the Arena di Verona. The Arena, located in the northern part of the square, was built in the 1st century AD. Still used today, the Arena is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind and the world’s eighth-largest Roman amphitheater. SHORT HISTORY The area began to take the shape of a square only in the first half of the 16th century, when the architect Michele Sanmicheli completed the Honorij Palace (Palazzo degli Honorij), which delimited the western side of the future square. The first attempt to transform the dirt road into a square belonged to the mayor Alvise Mocenigo, who wanted to create a meeting place for the Veronese bourgeoisie. He inaugurated the first part of the Liston, the paved sidewalk that flanks the Bra Square, in 1770. On March 13, 1782, Francesco Menegatti presented a project for the definitive paving of the Liston and, after his intervention, the Bra became the favorite place for afternoon walks. Palazzo della Gran Guardia, began by the Venetians Read more [...]
Piazza dei Signori or Piazza della Signoria is a beautiful square in the historic center of Padua, with the famous Clock Tower on one side and the Church of San Clemente on the other. Its name comes from Palazzo della Signoria, residence of the Lords of Padua between 1318 and 1405, a building that does not exist anymore. SHORT HISTORY Piazza dei Signori appeared in the 14th century on the place of an ancient district, as the result of an urban reorganization promoted by Ubertino da Carrara, Lord of Padua. The war between the Carraresi and the Visconti at the end of the 14th century damaged the square and left it in ruins until the ‘20s of the 15th century, when the Venetians started a work of recovery. At first, the square was paved with terracotta tiles, arranged in a herringbone pattern, gradually replaced starting from the 18th century by tiles of Euganean trachyte. Following a speech by Father Alessandro Gavazzi, on May 9, 1848, the square became Piazza Pio IX, the heart of the anti-Austrian popular movement. Then, it became Piazza Unità d’Italia, to return to its original name during the Fascist era. Now, the square hosts part Read more [...]