The piazza inside the walls

When visiting the centro storico (historic center) of a city of art, do you ever get the impression that the individual buildings that face the main square are part of one big architectural project? It is a bit like suddenly having the feeling that you are no longer outside in a public place, but rather inside the heart of a monumental building.

Try this experiment: place yourself in the middle of the square and imagine that the open air space is transformed by magic into a sort of big-building/city that is bounded by walls on the outside and organized internally along various paths. The alleys and lanes will then appear, by indulging a little fantasy, to be long and winding corridors to be crossed. In other words, forget for a moment that you are in a historic square and imagine that you are in a large courtyard, from which it is possible to access the various spaces occupied by the monuments that surround the hub where you are standing.  Then, not only the main square, but also the plazas and squares that you will encounter in the historic center will no longer seem to be simply void and open spaces, but rather small courtyards, hallways or entryways that invite you to visit the interior of this big-building/city.

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Abstract and translation by Lynn De La Torre – 10/26/2014