PIAZZA – Word of the Week

PIAZZA is our Word of the Week.  La Piazza – Square in Italy is the soul of each city, town, village.Piazza dell'Anfiteatro inside the ancinet Roman ampitheatre of Lucca, Tunscany, Italy

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.

casole d'elsa the square
casole d’elsa land of history

Piazze d’Italia

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.

Siena Piazza by m. gambelli
Siena Piazza by m. gambelli

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.Piazza del Campo (Siena), 50 km from the Badia a Passignano abbey

Piazze & Campanili

Particularly lively during the Summer time, every Piazza is coupled with a CAMPANILE (bell tower), traditionally indicating  the boundaries with nearby territories.Campanile_di_Giotto firenze

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:

Piazza Salimbeni
Piazza Salimbeni
  • 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *