Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,433 words)

1. Terminological history

By the late Middle Ages or earlier, the piazza (Italian “public square”) was acquiring a public significance in Italian city states that went far beyond the simple function of a marketplace (Market). The open space surrounded by buildings in the center of a town was a venue of public life and of the political public sphere of the city and the environs it ruled (Italian contado). It was, in other words, the central venue of communication.


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Behringer, Wolfgang, “Piazza”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025581>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721

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