Often, when deciding the destination of the next vacation, we make our decisions by the beaches, mountain resorts, or most famous tourist attractions in the place, depending on the time of travel. When traveling to explore new cities, we usually see only the best-known tourist spots and miss the less-known yet equally marvelous places.
Namely, when going to Italy, most tourists visit the Colosseum and the Trevi fountain in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Vatican City, or go to the most famous beaches when on a summer holiday. And, most of them miss the beautiful square across the country.
Did you know that Italy is the most represented nation in all the rankings of the most beautiful squares in the world? Probably not, which is why we give you the chance to “visit” them now!
Here are the 10 most beautiful squares in Italy from an architectural and artistic/cultural point of view.
10. Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples
Piazza del Plebiscito is one of the best known to Italians. In fact, it has often been chosen as the location of important manifestations and events due to its large size. This place underwent heavy changes during the Napoleonic era and, today, its beauty is mainly due to the presence of buildings of considerable historical and cultural value, including the Basilica of Saint Francis of Paola and the Royal Palace.
9. Piazza Ducale, Vigevano
Who knows the beauty of the Renaissance pearl? Not many, we assume. Located in the municipality of Vigevano, Piazza Ducale was built at the behest of the Sforza family in the last years of the 1400s. Beyond its undoubted architectural charm, the added value is given by the Pietro Bertolini shoe museum located inside the Sforzesco Castle, which looks right on the side of the square.
8. Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno
The historian Antonio Rodilossi described the People’s Square as “One of the most harmonious squares in Italy, a pedestrian area and the heart of the historic center.” And, he was right… still is. The famous square of the Ascoli Piceno town continues to be a point of reference, the most important meeting place in the city, even today.
7. Prato della Valle, Padua
In the 7th position, we find another little-known square, the Prato della Valle. It’s the largest square in the city of Padua, one of the least polluted cities in Italy, as well as one of the largest in Italy. The current configuration is characterized by an original elliptical island surrounded by a small channel.
6. Piazza Pretoria, Palermo
The well-known Florentine artist, Giorgio Vasari, described the flagship of this square as “A gorgeous fountain like no other in Florence.” as soon as he saw it.
The fantastic Piazza Pretoria is located in the heart of Palermo, the capital of the Sicily Region, near the Quattro Canti. This jewel of Mannerism owes its rare beauty to the splendid fountain in the center, which was sculpted in 1500 by the great Francesco Camilliani. Also known to most as “Piazza della Vergogna” (eng. “The Square of Shame”) due to the nakedness of the statues that make up the fountain, its affixing in the square wasn’t well-accepted by the cloistered nuns of the Convent of Santa Caterina which overlooks the square. Actually, it was they who renamed it “Piazza della Vergogna”.
5. St. Peter’s Square, Rome
In the 5th position, we find probably one of the most famous squares in Italy, St. Peter’s Square. It’s a “very Italian” square, although it’s not actually located on Italian soil but on that of Vatican. Due to the Vatican Museums, it’s the 6th most visited museum in the world and due to the obvious cultural and religious reasons, it’s probably the most famous square in the world.
4. Piazza Navona, Rome
Close to the podium, we find the famous Piazza Navona, the shape of which closely resembles a stadium from the ancient era. Apart from being one the most characteristic squares of Rome, Piazza Navona is also famous for being the place where the Befana Party is celebrated every year on the occasion of the Epiphany.
3. Piazza del Campo, Siena
Piazza del Campo takes the last step of the podium thanks to its very specific shape which makes it probably the most original of the squares on this list. Naturally, it’s a “sacred” place for Sienese citizens as the very important Palio, one of the most deeply rooted traditions of the city, is held here.
2. Piazza San Marco, Venice
The main square of the most beautiful city in Italy wins “only” the silver medal. Among Byzantine domes, spires, and mosaics, it’s not difficult to understand why the sublime St. Mark’s Square was Giacomo Casanova‘s favorite place for his courtships.
1. Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa
Piazza dei Miracoli (The Square of Miracles) in Pisa is the winner of this ranking. It’s no coincidence that it’s one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is the topical place of the city’s religious life due to the important ecclesiastical structures present. Furthermore, it’s linked to an interesting legend. According to it, on the side of the Cathedral, there are strange signs on the marble, called the “devil’s nails”, the number of which seems to vary every time you try to count them.