A piazza (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjattsa]) is a city square in Italy, Malta, along the Dalmatian coast and in surrounding regions. The term is roughly equivalent to the Spanish plaza. In Ethiopia, it is used to refer to a part of a city.
When the Earl of Bedford developed Covent Garden - the first private-venture public square built in London - his architect Inigo Jones surrounded it with arcades, in the Italian fashion. Talk about the piazza was connected in Londoners' minds not with the square as a whole, but with the arcades.
A piazza is commonly found at the meeting of two or more streets. Most Italian cities have several piazzas with streets radiating from the center. Shops and other small businesses are found on piazzas as it is an ideal place to set up a business. Many metro stations and bus stops are found on piazzas as they are key point in a city.
In Britain piazza now generally refers to a paved open pedestrian space, without grass or planting, often in front of a significant building or shops. King's Cross Station in London is to have a piazza as part of its redevelopment. The piazza will replace the existing 1970's concourse and allow the original 1850's façade to be seen again. There is a good example of a piazza in Scotswood at Newcastle College.
In the United States, in the early 19th century, a piazza by further extension became a fanciful name for a colonnaded porch. Piazza was used by some, especially in the Boston area, to refer to a verandah or front porch of a house or apartment.
Piazza is a common last name for Italians and Italian-Americans. The name grew out of the region surrounding Venice. Populations of Piazza live in Calabria, Sicily, and Venice.
- List of city squares
- Piazza Della Transalpina - a piazza divided between Italy and Slovenia in the towns of Gorizia and Nova Gorica
- Town square
- Boston University, "Boston English"
- Piazza in the Oxford American Dictionary (2001).
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