PIAZZA is our Word of the Week. La Piazza – Square in Italy is the soul of each city, town, village.
No matter the size, La Piazza is the meeting point, the heart of social life, the place to see people and be seen… Centre of economic and political activities, la Piazza often takes its name from the actual function of the place. We then have Piazza delle Erbe (originally the square for fruit and vegetable market), P.zza del Mercato or P.zza del Duomo (for the presence of the Cathedral), P.zza della Chiesa etc.
I was born in Siena, where the main Piazza is the famous and inimitable Piazza del Campo (as originally the open space was entirely occupied by fields, campo); a true “salotto – livingroom” for the city.
Elegant and refined, it is the main public space within the historic center of the city, and one of Europe’s greatest squares.
Renowned worldwide for the famous Palio horse race and its architectural integrity, I believe its main characteristic is that of being an open space truly enjoyed by the locals and not just by tourists. Senesi (people from Siena) regularly love eating in the Piazza restaurants and cafè and this is a big difference I have noticed with other Italian cities, where their beautiful Piazze are only enjoyed by storms of visitors but not by locals.
Piazze & Campanili
Particularly lively during the Summer time, every Piazza is coupled with a CAMPANILE (bell tower), traditionally indicating the boundaries with nearby territories.
From this world derives CAMPANILISMO, describing in Italian an extreme attachment to one’s city or town, together with its habits and traditions.
Piazzetta is a small square, while Piazzòla is used for a stopping or passing place
Piazza: Espressioni in Italiano
In Italian there are numerous expressions with the word Piazza in it. Let’s have a look at some of them:
- “Non parlare così forte, non sei in piazza!”- to describe rude manners or gestures (modi volgari, sguaiati)
- Scendere in piazza – taking part in public demonstrations
- Mettere in piazza- let everyone know things/news that should be kept confidential
- Il meglio che offre la piazza, the best that a situation or a place can offer
- Essere o sembrare una piazza d’armi, to describe a huge, spacious place.
- In sports competitions, to indicate ranking position (cfr. piazzarsi, piazzamento)
- Fare una piazzata – make a scene
- Fare piazza pulita – permanently remove, take away and can be used in many contexts