Wherever you go in Italy you will mostly always find a piazza in every town, village or city. In fact, in the cities you will usually find more than one.
A piazza is an open public square, usually surrounded by buildings. They are the meeting and gathering place for locals however you will often find visitors there also. There is always something happening in a piazza and they are a great place for people watching.
The Italian piazza is the centre of public life. You’ll often find a bar or cafe and a church or town hall on the main piazza. Many of Italy’s piazze have decorative statues or fountains. Piazze is the plural of piazza.
Although there are many famous piazze around Italy, including Piazza San Marco in Venice, Piazza del Campo in Siena, Piazza Navona in Rome, you will also find that most villages regardless of their size will have a piazza. They are a part of Italian life.
One of the joys of touring Italy is to spend time doing nothing (far niente) at a restaurant or bar located in a piazza, even if just for the people watching, but be aware that in famous squares like Venice’s Piazza San Marco, sitting at a table for a drink can be very expensive. However, when in Venice do make sure that you treat yourself to at least one glass of your favourite beverage while taking in the sights and sounds and sitting at Piazza San Marco. The experience is more than worth every cent spent.
When I think back over the many piazze that I have visited over the years there are a few that are special to me. For many reasons I suppose, not just for their beauty or statues or fountains but also for the memories of the good times that I have enjoyed.
My most special piazza in Rome is Piazza Navona, so consequently I can never visit Rome without lots of time spent at Piazza Navona. In fact, this is my pick of areas also to stay when in Rome.
This is such a beautiful space. The fountains, churches and buildings are all so harmonious. Piazza Navona is another of Rome’s many musts.
Piazza Navona contains two of Bernini’s masterpieces; the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. Although the church is brilliant, it is the fountain that brings me back again and again.
We went there in the evening and sat watching the beautiful fountain all lit up in golden lights – it was super busy, with artists painting, performing, singing, and people everywhere, also many folks dining in restaurants around the piazza. The other 2 fountains are a little less crowded, so you can sit near them and view the central one.
Lunch by the piazza is a wonderful experience and then dinner in the evening is spectacular. There is a good selection of cafes and bars. It seems to always be very busy, but pick a nice spot, grab some food and a bottle of wine and just sit back, relax and people watch. Brilliant