Round and Round in City Squares
You can’t help it. All new cities you visit, you’ll end up going round and round in their city squares. A city square defines a city. During my travels, a few that have impressed me are Tiananmen Square in Beijing, Main Square in Krakow, Red Square in Moscow and Covent Garden in London. I invited a few serious travellers to share their favourite city squares. Here’s their take!
Piazza San Pietro, Rome, Italy
One of my favourite squares in the world, and truly one of the most scenic city squares in the world is Piazza San Pietro in Rome. Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world and you will find Piazza San Pietro located directly in from of St Peter’s Basilicia in Vatican City. Whether you are admiring the square from afar, from above (top of St Peter’s Dome) or from the centre of the square you’ll realise what a truly remarkable place it is. Each time I have visited Piazza San Pietro it is always bustling with a mixture of tourists, locals and nuns/monks. The square is encircled by enormous colonnades and overlooked by 13 statues at the top of St Peter’s Basilica. The square also features two beautiful fountains, designed by Bernini and Maderno. Piazza San Pietro is a stunning and architecturally beautiful city square that has been the location of an incredible about of history in its time. This beautiful, scenic city square is one of the most visited in the world and is a must see on any visit to Rome.
Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium
In the heart of Brussles, Belgium is one of the most beautiful squares I’ve seen: Grand Place. Incredible detail surrounds you on all four sides, the centrepiece being the Town Hall.
On the opposing side is the just as ornate Museum of the City of Brussels. You could spend hours in this space just admiring the historic artwork that will hopefully survive many centuries to come.
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Welcome to Piazza del Campo in Siena – one of the most famous throughout Italy (and Europe). What makes it so unique? It’s original shell shape. While we do not recommend you eat here (tourists traps), we do recommend an aperitivo or a gelato and do not forget the photos – and try one from each angle. For a great photo, stick around for the sunset – your photos will look amazing!
Piazza del Campo is dominated by the red Town Hall (Palazzo Pubblico/Palazzo Comunale) and its tower, Torre del Mangia. The Town Hall, as well as the Duomo of Siena, were built during the Council of the Nine (1286-1355), which was the greatest economic and cultural splendour of Siena. From the courtyard of the Town Hall leads to the Civic Museum and the Torre del Mangia, on top of which, climbed the 500 steps, you can enjoy a splendid view of the city. Truly one of the most scenic squares in the world!
Old Town Square, Warsaw, Poland
Upon arrival to Warsaw I had no idea what to expect. I was informed by many people that Warsaw was nearly flattened in WWII so there would not be much to see in the terms of old historical architecture. While these people were not altogether wrong, I discovered that Warsaw is a stunning capital to Poland with some of the most beautiful mixtures of old and new architecture thus far. My favourite part of being in Warsaw was exploring the Old Town located through Castle Square. Completely blown away by the beauty that this reconstructed square holds, I didn’t think I would find anything else to match it. After getting lost down the streets of Old Town I found myself in the the most stunning and vibrant square I have ever seen. Old Town Market Square takes the gold for me in beautiful squares. Tiny and hidden from the less adventurous travellers, Old Town Market Square is a hidden gem of quaint, cozy and colourful and I quite enjoyed spending my afternoon here.
Place Massena, Nice, France
While visiting France I had the opportunity to stay at the stunning city of Nice for a couple of weeks. Nice is the second-largest French city located on the Mediterranean coast. The full name of the city is Nice la Belle (Nissa La Bella in Niçard), which translates to Nice the Beautiful. The location of Nice includes Terra Amata, an archaeological site, which contains historic use of fire. Through the years, the city has changed hands many times. Its location has been of military importance and the port significantly adds to its maritime strength. When walking around many attractions catch the eye and visualise the beauty of this old city square. It’s not long before the colourful square and old buildings transform into the old city. This part of historical Nice curves round past Castle Hill and near to the scenic Promenade des Anglais. Like Italy, the streets are lined with tall households. The vibrant buildings are often up to five stories high and the old narrow streets are full of interesting cafes and boutique stores to explore.
Red Square, Moscow
Red Square defines ‘BIG’! The four sides of this square are marked by St. Basil’s Cathedral (the iconic onion domed colourful church that perhaps inspired Disney’s logo), the outer wall of Kremlin with Lenin Memorial smack in the middle, State Historical Museum that places evolved masonry amongst the premier art forms and Gum Departmental Store, a 242-metre façade, which is illuminated every evening!
The entry into the square is allowed only after 1pm but once it opens for public, the place is normally buzzing with people. Being here around sunset and beyond will surely delight the photographer in you!