Recently I traveled to some of the most beautiful cities of Italy. In this blog, I would like to share my experience of the famous Italian Piazzas or Public Squares and its importance for the residents and tourists. I will be mentioning Piazzas of Milan, Florence, and Venice in this blog which I visited during the trip.
What are “Public Squares” or ‘Piazzas’?
Public Squares or Piazzas usually are the open spaces surrounded by the important public buildings in the town center which are used for public gathering, festive celebrations, markets etc. Here, In these historical cities which hold grandeur of renaissance architecture has still preserved the original functions of Piazzas. There are some principles which we can see as common characteristics in all these squares are mentioned as below.
They all have a strong unique identity which makes them different from other squares. These squares actually represent the image, culture, history and character of that town or area. Most of the Piazzas have sculptures or monuments standing on the sides of the squares or a bit away from the center spaces. E.g. “Piazza Della Signoria” (Fig. 2) which I visited in Florence which is surrounded by important art-related building like Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, and Logia Della Signoria. This particular square contains the number of sculptures by famous artists and nowadays works as an open-air art gallery for tourists.
Most of the squares are located in front of the most important buildings in the city which can be civic buildings or religiously important buildings. Because of these squares that individual building becomes more important than others. E.g. “Piazza Del Duomo” in Milan (Fig. 1). This square is exactly in the center of the city and enhances the importance of on of the largest cathedrals in the world ” Duomo Di Milano”. This building has high religious & architecture importance in the country.
Amenities & Flexibility:
Squares need to be flexible to hold different events and activities as season changes. In above images these Piazzas acts different role during different seasons and even during different time of the day. Some times they become large canvas for artists to display their creativity in public or sometimes they become event venue for the festival. Apart from this they also have amenities all around on the periphery like cafes, restaurants, markets, retail blocks etc.
To make a successful square which can be used any time of the year by any age group or community of the people, some of these principles needs to be fulfilled. Even connection and how square has been created by surrounding buildings as an envelope is important.
Spaces, Project. “10 Principles For Successful Squares – Project For Public Spaces”. Project for Public Spaces. N.p., 2017. Web. 4 May 2017.
Fig.1 : “Palazzo Vecchio And Piazza Signoria – Florence”. Museumsinflorence.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 4 May 2017.
Fig. 2: Rami, Kuntal. “Piazza Del Duomo”, Milan (2017)
Fig. 3: Rami, Kuntal. Artist making Painting on the floor of “Piazza Della Repubblica”, Florence (2017)
Fig. 4: Rami, Kuntal. ‘Machera’ Carnival public function at “Piazza San Marco”, Venice