15 beautiful piazzas in Italy: list of the most beautiful squares in Italy, photos and tips for visiting.
Italy has many beautiful landmarks and some of the most famous of all are piazzas, aka City Squares.
City squares are not a uniquely Italian however, the long history of the country means that many of them date from ancient times, the Middle Ages or the Renaissance and this means they are often more than just public spaces, but true works of art.
You find stunning piazzas in many Italian cities, a piazza being the public area for the city market: in this article, I share some of the most beautiful of all.
Good to know! In English, piazza=square (singular) and piazzas=squares (plural). In Italian, piazza is the singular while the plural of piazza is piazze.
These are, in no particular order, the most beautiful piazzas in Italy.
Piazza San Pietro, St Peter Square, Vatican City, Rome
I open this list of beautiful squares in Italy with the Queen of all piazzas, the largest, grandest and most imposing of them all: St Peter’s Square in Rome.
St Peter’s Square is the large square in Vatican City with St Peter Basilica: it is one of the largest piazzas in the country and one of the most beautiful, its appearance owed to the genius of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of Italy’s greats.
The Square is technically in Vatican City, an independent State, however, it is physically inside the city of Rome and can easily be visited during a Rome trip.
The square is special under several point of view.
Designed during the XVII century, the piazza is a frame to the incredible St Peter’s Basilica facade and dome, it has a beautiful colonnade, two monumental fountains and an ancient obelisk.
The square has great religious significance for the followers of the Catholic faith but it is so unique and splendid, it is visited by tourists from all walks of life as one of the most beautiful squares in Italy!
Top things to see on St peter’s Square are:
- St Peter Basilica, a masterpiece itself and the home of several artistic treasures such as Michelangelo’s Pieta’ and Bernini’s baldachin
- Bernini’ colonnade
- The ‘twin’ fountains
- The ancient obelisk
- The Pope window
Piazza San Marco, Venice
Piazza San Marco in Venice is one of the most famous piazzas in Italy and a Venice city landmark.
It is a large, monumental square and it home to the unique St Mark’s Basilica, its bell tower, the famous Doge’s Palace as well as other official and unofficial symbols of the city, namely Venice’s marble lions and the city’s famous pigeons!
Piazza San Marco as we see it today took shape from the XII century.
At that time, a flood required upgrading of the original space and works started to turn the area into a large, monumental and multi-functional space.
The square developed as a space with several areas: the main part of the piazza itself, in front of the basilica, the so called piazzetta, the area in front of the Doges’ Palace lapped by the waters of the Grand Canal, and the Piazzetta dei Leoncini, beside the palace and named after the two statues of lions who reside here.
The piazza can be visited as a whole, the different areas all being attached to one another, forming an elaborate yet unified space.
The main things to see in Piazza San Marco Venice are:
- St Mark’s Basilica – access is free or you can book a guided tour here
- Doges’ Palace – find guided tours here
- Venice’s Clock tower with the two statues of the Moors marking the time
- The Marciana’s library, an ancient library with some of the world’s most significant collections of classical texts
- The Correr Museum, famous for its Venetian paintings and its Canova Collection
- Cafe Florian, one of the most iconic historical cafes in Italy
You can read how to include Piazza San Marco in your Venice itinerary here.
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Tuscany
Piazza del Campo is a large, stunning, medieval square in Siena, Tuscany.
It is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy and one of those places so beautiful, unique and visually powerful, words can only partially do it justice, the feeling of being in the square being the only way to truly feel its magic.
Piazza del Campo was and is the center of public life in Siena and Unesco recognized it as splendid examples of medieval urban architecture in 1995.
The square a peculiar shape reminiscent of that of a shell or even a theater.
It is entirely surrounded by buildings, which gives it a wonderfully contained feel, and its ground slopes gently towards the area of the Municipal Building (Palazzo Comunale), which is the visual focus of the space.
There is plenty to see in Piazza del Campo. As well as the piazza itself it is worth noticing:
- Palazzo Comunale (aka Palazzo Pubblico), the large medieval building dominating the piazza (now also a museum)
- Torre del Mangia, part of the palazzo and now open to the public as viewing spot
- St Mary’s chapel at Piazza del Campo, the marble tabernacle at the basis of the Mangia tower, devoted to the Virgin
- The monumental public fountain, Fonte Gaia, built by Giacomo dalla Quercia
You can learn how to visit Piazza del Campo following our one day in Siena itinerary.
Piazza dei Miracoli Pisa, Tuscany
Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa is the Italian piazza with the famous leaning tower of Pisa and the majestic religious complex the tower is part of.
The piazza entered the list of UNESCO world Heritage sites in 1987 for its exceptional beauty and architectural value and indeed, it is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy but also, I believe, one of the most beautiful monuments in the world.
The piazza is made of a large lawn with several religious building, forming the complex of Pisa’s Duomo: the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the leaning tower, which is is the bell tower of the cathedral itself, the Pisa’s baptistry and the monumental cemetery.
The building were designed together and therefore form a space of great spacial harmony and consistent aesthetic.
The complex dates back to the XIII century and is peculiar in style as it mixes elements of traditional Romanesque architecture, typical of Tuscany, with oriental influences arrived in Pisa thanks to the important trade role the city had on maritime routes.
You can learn how to visit the square following our one day in Pisa itinerary |You can learn fun and interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa here
Piazza Duomo, Milan
Piazza Duomo is the grand Milan City center square with Milan’s Duomo and Milan’s galleria, two of the most famous landmarks in the city.
Piazza del Duomo is large and beautiful.
The duomo is a marvel of Gothic architecture and dominates the piazza with tall spires and one of the most elaborate church facades in Italy.
Overall, the piazza feels like an elegant living room, fitting perfectly with the refined atmospheres of Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world.
The main things to see in Piazza del Duomo in Milan are:
- The Duomo itself and its top terrace, which I highly recommend you visit (tickets here)
- Milan’s galleria, with its incredible ceiling and beautiful shops
- The statue to King Vittorio Emanuele II
- Museo del Novecento (Museum of the XIX century)
You can learn how to include Piazza Duomo in your Milan itinerary here | You can find facts about Milan’s Duomo and its facade here
Piazza del Duomo, Siracusa, Sicily
Piazza del Duomo in Siracusa is a wonderful monumental piazza in the center or Ortigia, the historical heart of the city of Siracusa, Sicily.
The piazza is at the center of an area of meandering small streets and opens up in front of the visitors in an unexpected, breathtaking way.
As you step into its large area, the duomo towers above you, its bright facade reflecting the sunlight in a way that makes the square positively magical
The duomo is a fabulous building. the facade is entirely cream in color and has the detailing and style that is typical of the Sicilian baroque aesthetic, an architectural style that makes great use of columns and round shapes.
In front of it, several historical palazzi frame the large area of the square and to its side, the church of Santa Lucia competes the scene, giving this piazza a great sense of completeness.
The square acquired the appearance we see today in the XVII century and it now one of the most beautiful examples of baroque squared in Italy.
Piazza Duomo, Orvieto, Umbria
Piazza del Duomo is the central square in Orvieto, a beautiful town in Umbria perched on the top of an impressive tufo hill.
Orvieto’s duomo dominates the piazza by the same name and is a marvel of Gothic architecture, its main structure dating from the XIII century.
The duomo is impressive inside and out.
Its facade is decorated with marble statues bas-reliefs and, on the top part, is has stunning mosaics that add to the building an unexpected touch of color.
The visual effect is then completed by the presence of the big window with colored stained glass dating from the mid 1300s.
The side of the duomo look very different from the facade and have cream and dark white marbles stripes, a motif that we also find inside the duomo, where we also find frescos by artists of the caliber of Fra Angelico and Perugino.
The duomo is the jewel in the crown but the piazza as a whole is worth visiting.
The many palazzi opening onto it now host museums and cafes and create a welcoming area from where to admire, at leisure, the duomo and city life.
Piazza Grande, Montepulciano, Tuscany
Piazza Grande is the square at the very top of the town of Montepulciano, a delightful hilltop village in the heart of Tuscany.
Grande in Italian means big and Piazza grande is indeed the biggest square in the village and the one that hosts the most important urban and religious institutions in town.
Here you have a stunning municipal main building, not entirely dissimilar in style from Palazza Pubblico in Siena, a beautiful church and an ancient well, with interesting carvings of the Medici’s family crest.
he square is now used for public gatherings and concerts and it is one of the most beautiful backdrops for pubic performances you can ever hope for.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca is one of the most peculiar piazzas in Italy and one like no other, being built over what used to be a Roman amphitheater!
Lucca is an ancient city that has been continuously inhabited since Roman times.
This consistent use of the space meant that some areas have been repurposed and reused and this included the main city amphitheater that served as a stadium, then a quarry and, finally, as foundations to newbuilds.
The result of this long history is a square like no others, with homes arranged along the old foundations of the theater, forming an elliptical structure that wraps around the visitor at 360 degrees.
Piazza Navona, Rome
Piazza Navona is one of the most famous if not the most famous square in Rome and one of the most impressive and beautiful piazzas in Italy.
Originally built by Roman Emperor Domitian, to serve as a stadium, the space became a pubic square in the Middle Ages and acquired the monumental appearance we see now during the XVI century.
At the time, Pope Innocent X gave order to upgrade the Piazza and commissioned several interventions that altered its appearance.
These works were carried out at different times by some of the biggest names in Roman art and architecture, who made Piazza Navona the marvel we see today.
Among the many things to see in Piazza Navona Roma three are:
- Piazza Navona itself, a space still visibly shaped as the ancient Roman stadium it started out as, and the perfect frame to the works of arts it contains
- The church of Santa Agnese in Agone, by Borromini
- The Fountain of the 4 rivers, by Bernini
- Two additional fountains at the two ends of the piazza
- Palazzo Braschi, now hosting the beautiful Museum of Rome
Piazza di Spagna, Rome
Piazza di Spagna is the Italian square where you find one of the most iconic landmarks n Rome: the Spanish Steps.
Piazza di Spagna in Rome owns its name to the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, that has it seat here, and it is one of the most famous and recognizable squares in Rome.
There are three main things to see in the Piazza:
- The Spanish Steps, the monumental staircase dominating the piazza and leading up to the higher grounds of Trinita’ dei Monti church and Villa Borghese
- Trinita’ dei Monti itself, the church at the top of the steps, characterized by two twin bell towers
- La Barcaccia Fountain, a beautiful monumental fountains created by Bernini, father and son, one of the most beautiful in Rome.
Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome
Piazza del Campidoglio is a Renaissance Piazza in Rome city center designed by the genius of Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The Piazza is at the top of the Capitoline Hill, one of the famous 7 hills of Rome, and used to be an important religious space during Roman times, when it hosted some of the most important temples in the city.
During the Middle Ages, the area went through a period of decadence but, in occasion of a visit from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, in 1538 Pope Paul III ordered for the square to be upgraded, assigning the work to Michelangelo.
The artist entirely redesigned the square and created the elegant space that we still enjoy today.
The square is accessible by a large, monumental staircase, it is enclosed by three beautiful and historical palazzi and has at its center a statue of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, known for being the only equestrian statue from Roman times fully preserved.
The square is a monument worth visiting itself and it is also a wonderful viewpoint to admire the Roman Forum which lies just below it.
Piazza del Pantheon, Rome
Piazza del Pantheon is an ancient square in Rome city center and one of the most evocative and historically interesting piazzas in Italy.
The square takes its name from the main building overlooking it, the Pantheon.
Originally a Roman temple to ‘All Gods’, the Pantheon has a long history that saw the building survive across the centuries with minimal damage, and arrive to us as one of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture in the world.
From the piazza, the Pantheon appears with a classical style facade with huge supporting columns and it is faced by a beautiful fountain decorated with tritons.
Around these two monuments, shops and restaurants abound, making the square one of the most popular and lively int he city of Rome.
Piazza del Duomo, Amalfi, Campania
Piazza del Duomo in Amalfi is a beautiful, elegant square in the heat of Amalfi town, the city from where the famous Amalfi coast takes its name.
Amalfi is a small town yet it went through a period of great commercial success in the middle age, when it was one of the few Italian Maritime republic and dominated the commercial routes of the Mediterranean with its powerful fleet.
Amalfi’s Piazza del Duomo is the place where this important past still shown.
Here, you have the stunning Amalfi Cathedral, with some original parts still dating from the 1200s, and a beautiful fountain called Fontana di Sant’Andrea, which is a town icon.
The piazza is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists and a wonderful piazza in Italy to relax and watch life go by, against the backdrop of beautiful historical buildings.
Piazza del Duomo, Trani, Puglia
Piazza del Duomo in Trani, Puglia, is a much lesser known square than others on this list, but one that fully deserves to be included for its outstanding beauty and uniqueness.
Unlike other piazzas, located in the center of town, this piazza is located right on the sea, the duomo perched in a position usually reserved to the harbor lighthouse!
This position is intentional and stunning: the clean, Romanesque architecture of the Duomo against the backdrop of the sea and the sky appears almost like a mirage to visitors and highlights the importance that the sea has always had in the history of this city.
I hope you enjoyed this selection of some of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy. Safe travel planning!