Central Italy is home to some of the artistically richest cities of the country and each of them, in turn, is somehow symbolized by a square. Florence and Rome are the main protagonists, and fight for supremacy in this atypical race.
Background and inspiration to some of the best known movies of the golden age of Italian cinema, Rome boasts the presence of several squares, some of them dating back to the times of the Romans.
Piazza San Pietro
As the centre of the Citta’ del Vaticano, Piazza San Pietro is the emblem of Christian life and the Catholic Church. As such, it is visited by millions of believers each year, but it is also a crucial and essential stop for all the visitors of the Eternal City, regardless of their faith. The square was designed by Bernini, who created a circle with several columns, where 140 statues representing saints were placed. Look up to the sky and you will find the famous window from which the Pope greets and blesses Catholic worshippers during the Angelus every Sunday.
This square is situated in the heart of the Italian capital city. From there you can see the Campidoglio, Palazzo Venezia and the Vittoriano, a monument built in honor of King Vittorio Emanuele II. It is also in the proximity of the Foro Romano.
Piazza Navona is especially beautiful during Christmas, when street markets crowd it. This square, a true symbol of the Italian Baroque, hosts important architectural elements such as the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini, the Fontana del Moro, the Fontana del Nettuno and the Chiesa di Sant’Agnese in Agone by Borromini.
Piazza di Spagna
The Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, are famous all over the world. Often used as a magnificent setting for catwalks or films, Piazza di Spagna is an emblem of glamour and wealth. It is situated in an amazing position between the Pincio and Trinità dei Monti. In the middle of the square there is one of the most original fountains of Rome: the fountain of Barcaccia by Bernini.
Piazza della Rotonda
This square is better known as Piazza del Pantheon, because of its architectural landmark, which imposingly dominates the whole square. The Pantheon is the real protagonist of the piazza: initially built as a temple to all Roman gods, its role changed throughout the centuries. Today, the Pantheon is a Catholic church. In the middle of the square there is also a fountain called the Fontana della Rotonda, which was designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1500, characterized by the presence, in its centre, of the obelisk of Ramesses, which is six meters high.
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo is often the setting of concerts and events, but is also the crossroad for all shopping lovers as it leads to famous streets such as via del Babbuino and via del Corso, which are frequent destinations for shopping; the fountains at its centre are enriched by lion statues created by Valadier.
Though not as big as Rome, Florence boasts some of the most notorious Italian squares; every tourist, Italian or foreign, knows these famous piazze: Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza della Signoria.
Piazza Santa Croce
Piazza della Signoria
Situated at the very centre of the town, Piazza della Signoria has always been considered its political and social heart. The square takes its name from its most distinguishing feature, the Palazzo della Signoria. It is also home to the majestic Fontana del Nettuno.
Piazza dei Miracoli
The Piazza del Duomo in Pisa is better known as Piazza dei Miracoli and it has been part of the Unesco Cultural Heritage since 1987. It is one of the most visited places in Tuscany, where you can find a combination of the greatest monumental complexes of the European Middle Ages; it includes the cathedral, the battistero, baptistery, the cemetery and, of course, the leaning tower.
Lucca is a relatively small town, but of an incomparable beauty. Its main square, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, was built over a Roman amphitheater by the architect Nottolini and it is from the former presence of this structure the square take its name. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a symbol of the town itself.
The square has a circular shape and it is surrounded by medieval colored houses that create an evocative atmosphere.
The 4th of November’s square, Piazza IV novembre, is the most famous part of town. It is the meeting point of Perugia’s youth and the real hub of the city’s social life, as well as a frequent destination for tourists. The beauty of the place is increased by the National Museum of Umbria, the Palazzo dei Priori and the Duomo; the central part of the square is enriched by the Fontana Maggiore, a Pisanos brothers’ masterpiece.
Surrounded by palaces with porticos and loggias, the Palace of the Capitains, the historic Caffè Meletti and the beautiful St. Francis’ Church, Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno is one of the most renown squares in Renaissance style. Like Guido Piovene (an Italian writer and journalist) said, “this square, like San Marco in Venice, looks more like a living room than a square, wrapped by porticos like it is”.
Edited by Francesca Bezzone