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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.

 

Rome

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.

 

St. Peter’s in Rome in the morning light
Ph. depositphoto.com/anshar

 

Piazza Venezia

 

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 Venezia in Rome
Ph. wikimedia/fczarnowski

 

Piazza Navona

 

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.

 

An unusual deserted Piazza Navona, Rome
Ph. depositphoto.com/sborisov

 

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 di Spagna, Rome
Ph. depositphoto.com/kevers

 

Piazza della Rotonda

 

This square is better known as Piazza del Pantheon, because of its architectural landmark, which imposingly dominate 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.

 

The Pantheon by night
Ph. wikimedia/o2ma Flickr

 

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.

 

Piazza del Popolo in Rome
Ph. depositphoto.com/vkovalcik

 

Florence

 

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 Santa croce is situated at the heart of Florence and is the very symbol of the Italian Middle Ages. Very evocative thanks to the Basilica di Santa Croce and palaces such as Palazzo Cocchi-Serristori and the Palazzo dell’Antella, this square is home also to a well known statue of Dante Alighieri by Enrico Pazzi and a beautiful fountain by Giuseppe Manetti.

 

Piazza Santa Croce in Florence
Ph. wikimedia/sailko

 

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 della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, Florence
Ph. depositphoto.com/jovannig

 

Pisa

 

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.

 

Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa
Ph. depositphoto.com/Lenorlux

 

Lucca

 

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.

 

Piazza Anfiteatro, Lucca
Ph. depositphoto.com/jrp_studio

 

Perugia

 

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.

 

Piazza IV Novembre in Perugia
Ph. wikimedia/G. Dall’Orto

 

Ascoli Piceno

 

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 reknown 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”.

 

Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno, Marche
Ph. depositphoto.com/antosca74

 

Edited by Francesca Bezzone, 24/02/2014

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