Piazzas are a typical architectural feature of Italian cities. Ever since the time of the ancient Romans, they have been the main public place in historic centres, connection points for commerce, the administration of politics, religion and local justice.
These urban spaces have always represented fundamental places for social life in Emilia-Romagna.
From Piacenza all the way to Rimini, in the large regional cities along the Via Emilia, they have played a fundamental role as hubs for the large stop-off markets.
Many of these squares have been enriched with open-air works of art (such as statues, fountains and historical monuments) and at the same time public buildings for community government, to which cafés and restaurants have been added in more recent times, transforming these spaces into veritable gastronomic theaters.
Today, despite a common substratum, each square in Emilia-Romagna tells a unique story, with its timeless charm and lively atmosphere.
Piazza dei Martiri | Carpi
Piazza dei Martiri in Carpi (MO) is one of the largest squares in Italy (the third largest) and is an almost perfect rectangle located in the exact centre of the city.
As every square in our peninsula, it hosts on its space the symbols of spiritual and temporal power: on one side the Cattedrale dell’Assunta and on the other the Palazzo dei Pio, a vast monumental complex formed by fortresses, towers, courtyards and buildings built between the 14th and 17th centuries.
Piazza Grande | Modena
Surrounded by elegant medieval buildings, Piazza Grande in Modena is dominated by the imposing Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Ghirlandina Tower, undisputed symbols of the city. All together have been a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1997.
Built in the twelfth century, it was renamed Piazza Grande during the second half of the seventeenth century, confirming its central role in the management and control of civil and religious power.
In the past, however, it was also the main place for the market: under its arcades, trade exchanges took place, but also chats and exchanges of opinions on political, religious and customary facts concerning the city.
During the day, the square hosts lively markets and cultural events, while at dusk it transforms into a romantic and evocative place thanks to the cafés that enliven its perimeter.
The citizens of Modena are very proud of their square; also the tourists are attracted by its majesty and the atmosphere steeped in history that can be felt here.
Piazza Maggiore | Bologna
It is overlooked by the Palazzo del Podestà and the Basilica di San Petronio, the façade of which was never finished. Despite what many believe, it’s not the city’s cathedral, represented instead by the Chiesa di San Pietro a short distance away.
Piazza Maggiore is one of the first squares built in Italy as a place of public representation, and is even earlier in time than Piazza della Signoria in Florence or Piazza del Campo in Siena.
Piazza Trento-Trieste | Ferrara
Built during the medieval period, when it was nicknamed Piazza delle Erbe cause of the market of the same name that was held here, it has always played the role of the beating heart of the historical centre.
Loggia dei Merciai, once dedicated to merchants’ shops, runs along the side of the Cathedral; on the opposite side, however, is the former church of San Romano, now home to the Cathedral Museum; in the centre, finally, is a long pavement of no less than 120 metres, better known as the listone.
Piazza del Popolo | Cesena
Its construction in its present form is due to Andrea Malatesta, who in the 15th century had part of the hill on which stands the famous Rocca Malatestiana, symbol of the city, levelled.
During the centuries it was the headquarter of the Signoria, then of the Pontifical Government and finally in 1722 it was destined to the Municipal Administration.
Piazza Tre Martiri | Rimini
Piazza Tre Martiri traces part of the ancient Roman forum in Rimini, standing at the confluence of the two main roads: the cardo, which connected the hill to the sea, and the decumanus, which connected the Arch of Augustus to the Bridge of Tiberius.
Also known in ancient times as Piazza delle Erbe, it owes its current name in memory of three young partisans (Mario Cappelli, Luigi Nicolò, Adelio Pagliarani), who were executed here on 16 August 1944.
A 16th-century memorial stone in the square recalls the speech Julius Caesar is said to have addressed to the legions after crossing the Rubicon, and there is also a bronze statue in his memory, a copy of a Roman original.
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