Why seek out the Best Piazzas in Italy?
Make sure you visit some of the best piazzas in Italy. In our opinion, the best and most unforgettable fun you can have in Europe – besides riding a bicycle in the historic Old Town! – is to visit the best piazzas and squares in Italy. There, you will find performances, protests, small-vendor markets, and great places to walk, bicycle, or just hang out and relax.
Here are some of the Best Piazzas in Italy
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria is the most important square in Florence. This historic Piazza is located between the Piazza del Duomo and the Arno River. It dates back to Roman times when the area was used for markets and trade. The current L-shaped square was paved in 1385 but dates back to the 13th century. Palazzo Vecchio (town hall) is the most characteristic building of the square. You will also find the Loggia della Signoria, a small open-air museum on the side of Palazzo Vecchio, which houses famous works including the Kidnapping of the Sabines and the Perseus with the head of Medusa. On the other side of Palazzo Vecchio is the Fountain of Neptune and the equestrian statue of Cosimo. Don’t forget to visit the Uffizi Gallery where you can view private collections of artworks of the Medici.
Piazza del Plebiscito
Piazza del Plebiscito, with its hallmark twin colonnades extending to each side, is home of both the Royal Palace and the church of San Francesco di Paola (built to mimic the Pantheon in Rome). The semi-circular piazza is about 24,000 square meters. The piazza hosts numerous civic events and concerts throughout the year.
Piazza Navona, built in the 1st Century AD, is oval-shaped, to follow its origins as a Roman chariot track. The monuments are much newer, dating from the 17th century. Pope Innocent X constructed a palace on the piazza and commissioned the fountains at that time. Its centerpiece is the Baroque masterpiece, The Fountain of the Four Rivers. An amazing Egyptian obelisk that crowns the fountain. The piazza is often filled with street vendors, entertainers, and all walks of life who frequent the piazza for their evening passeggiata.
Piazza Venezia, the central hub of Rome, is actually Rome’s largest roundabout and where the most famous or Roman landmarks intersect. The four major roads of Rome meet in the piazza. Via del Corso, Rome’s longest street, starts here and reaches to the ancient northern gates of the city. The piazza is adjacent to the ruins from the Imperial Forums, which lead the way to the Colosseum. Towering over the piazza is the impressive marble monument – Il Vittoriano.
Piazza San Pietro - Vatican City
Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square), built between 1656 and 1667, sits in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It was conceived with the idea of giving the greatest number of people a chance to see the Pope giving his blessings. The piazza is a spectacular 320 meters long and 240 meters wide. This piazza is one of the best examples of Bernini’s art and expression of the Roman Renaissance. There are an astounding 284 columns and 140 statues surrounding the square. From the river, walk the grand Via della Conciliazione, constructed between 1936 and 1950 under the rule of Benito Mussolini, to soak in a perfect view of the basilica as you enter.
Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo (il Campo), home of the world-famous Palio races, is a grand square and the heart of Siena. It was designed as a place where political and civic holidays could be celebrated and was built to hold the entire town. At 102 meters (300 feet) tall, the Torre del Mangia towers over the square. This magnificent tower was constructed between 1325 to 1348. This piazza is alive with tourists and local alike, who often come to sit in the sun or relax and socialize in the evenings.
Syracuse/Ortigia - Sicely
Piazza del Duomo
Piazza del Duomo is one of the most beautiful baroque piazzas in Italy. The buildings surrounding the piazza include the beautiful Cathedral, the Palazzo Vermexio (town hall), the Archbishop’s Palace, and the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia. The piazza, reconstructed after the earthquake of 1693, is a mix of Greek and Baroque styles. The black lines in molten lead on the limestone reflect the exact location of the monuments found during the other excavations. We recommend strolling down the charming walking street, Via Cavour, to access the piazza.
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), constructed in the 9th century, is home of St. Mark’s Basilica, whose campanile (bell tower) stands 98.6 meters tall (323 ft) and is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The piazza is surrounded by St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace at one end, the campanile in the center, and the colonnaded arcade topped by the Procuratie palaces lining three sides. The piazza is filled with tourists and locals every day and is a place to gather and meet, many who feed the famous pigeons. So many pigeons now congregate in the square and have damaged statues and architecture that it is now prohibited to feed them.