The bubbles on a chilled glass of sparkling white wine dance in the evening from a café perch exposed to the Italian piazza. When spring and summer become a part of Italy’s equation, the most famous of piazzas fill throughout the country, adding additional seating to accommodate those who want to soak in the good life. From Piazza San Marco in Venice to Piazza Navona in Rome, the popular and well-photographed piazzas of Italy crowd with those looking to soak in the country with a drink in hand. If you want to ditch the crowds, consider absorbing that drink in some of the country’s lesser-known piazzas.
Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia, Trieste: Trieste lies on the border between Slovenia and Italy. Its Piazza dell’Unita d’Italia has long had the best seat in the house. Right in the heart of the city, the piazza fills on three sides with imperial buildings, including the Palazzo Comunale, the town hall. Italian flags from the building whip in the wind as they wave to the fourth side of the piazza, the sea. In the warmer months, the piazza fills with sidewalk cafés. Friends meet up for the evening over a drink, all the while Trieste’s heart looks on and those flags wave in approval.
Piazza del Popolo, Todi (in photo): In the Italian hill town of Todi, Piazza del Popolo shines. Enclosed by Roman and Etruscan walls, the renowned square features a medieval cathedral and buildings, only adding to the setting’s appeal. This central square is where you grab a Campari and watch the time machine before you. A staircase seemingly headed to the medieval heavens joins the two palaces, Palazzo del Popolo and Palazzo del Capitano. With such a scene, more Campari will probably follow to keep this seat.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Locorotondo: From this vantage point, the only bursts of color come from the potted plants on balconies with front row views of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Locorotondo, built in a circle, is known as one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, officially. It has received the title of being one of the borghi piú belli d’Italia. Locorotondo adorns only in a shade of white and its Piazza Vittorio Emanuele is no exception. This may be one of Italy’s smallest piazze with nothing more than a tourist shop and café. Travelers can pull up one of the few seats and sip on a sparkling white wine, a specialty for the town and area of Puglia.
Piazza del Duomo, Ortigia: The island of Ortigia, the historic center of Siracusa on Italy’s east coast, has all of those classic images of Italian life. From laundry flapping in the wind right down to its piazzas, Ortigia can’t disappoint. Its Piazza del Duomo blinds in the day with its off-white coloring stretching as far as the eye can see. The main attraction in the piazza is the town’s Duomo, a former Greek temple to Athena as seen through its still intact Doric columns. However in the evening hours, the piazza sits under a dark sky, lighting up all of its baroque buildings accordingly. It is pure elegance, where several cafés compete to receive your business for an evening meal or drink.
What’s your favorite off the beaten path Italian piazza?