Italy’s piazzas – or public squares – form a key part in the lives of locals and holidaymakers to the breathtaking country alike. Not only do they make for a convenient meeting point for exploring the rest of a city, but are also where you will come across stunning architecture and some wonderful landmarks.
Amazing piazzas can be found all over the nation – there is at least one in every city and large town – but the following are five of the most memorable.
Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
If you’ve booked your car hire in Pisa as a way of getting around the stunning Tuscan city, make sure you stop by the Piazza del Duomo. Not only is this public square among the most beautiful in the country, it also contains Pisa’s most stunning landmarks.
What’ll really capture your interest here is the 11th-century Pisa Cathedral which the square is named after (duomo is Italian for cathedral), and the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. The square is also home to the stunning Baptistry of St John and the Camposanto Monumentale, a 12th-century cemetery that features ornate frescos, so it is little wonder it is also known as Piazza dei Miracoli, or the Square of Miracles.
Piazza Navona, Rome
Situated in the centre of the Italian capital, Rome’s Piazza Navona is a historic spot that you must not go without seeing.
Located to the west of the Pantheon, the public space was built on top of Roman emperor Domitian’s stadium and, as such, stands out due its long, oval shape. Remains of the old arena can still be seen to this day, while you should also keep an eye out for the numerous fountains. These include the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, aka the Fountain of the Four Rivers, while you’ll see the Fontana di Nettuno and Fontana del Moro at the northern and southern ends of the piazza respectively.
It’s hard to miss the Sant’Agnese in Agone while you’re here. This church is a stunning example of Baroque architecture and was commissioned by Pope Innocent X in 1652.
Piazza Colonna, Rome
Elsewhere in Rome is the Piazza Colonna, another public space you ought to make time to visit. The landmark’s name comes from the Colonna di Marco Aurelio – a stunning column built in tribute to the military success of Marcus Aurelius that stands 30 m tall.
Here, you’ll also find Palazzo Chigi, a stunning 16th-century building that has served as the official residence for the Italian prime minister since the 1960s.
Piazza San Marco, Venice
As the largest public square in Venice, Piazza San Marco (or St Mark’s Square in English) is hard to miss. In fact, many people just call it “the Piazza”, such is its status.
It is at the piazza you will find Doge’s Palace – a 14th-century Gothic building that was once the residence of the city’s doge – and the San Marco clocktower. While you’re here, stop by the Caffe Florian – the country’s oldest cafe – where you can indulge in a spot of people-watching and an espresso, while taking in the historic architecture.
Piazza del Duomo, Milan
Not to be confused with the square in Pisa of the same name, Milan’s Piazza del Duomo is dominated by Milan Cathedral, which is one of the biggest churches in the world and took nearly 600 years to build.
Other attractions you’ll see here are the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), which contains the Duomo Cathedral Museum and Contemporary Art Museum, and the Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall which features an ornate glass ceiling.
Have you been any of these piazzas or are set to go to Italy soon? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!