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Piazza Mercatale, the
The ‘Palazzotto’ - photograph by Massimiliano Galardi

Mercatale square

Originally it was a large lawn on the Bisenzio river used since the twelfth century to hold markets. Later it became the location of the September fair. The walls along the river, the Mercatale Gate and the bridge on the Bisenzio river, together with the other section of walls to the east delimited the large space giving it the particular almond shape. Most of the buildings that stood along the Mercatale were modest dwelling and shops of artisans. In 1531 special sheds called "tiratoi" and belonging to the Arte della Lana were built at the centre of the square, demolished then in 1783 giving new value to the New Houses built on the eastern side, typical example of people's building of the second half of the seventeenth century. The tree lined garden built in 1926 changed the configuration of the square, which was severely damaged during the bombing of 1944. Currently the square has a series of late nineteenth century and twentieth century houses, with few ruins of the original loggias under which skilled artisans, especially copper beaters, carried out their work. Where the square meets Via del Carmine stands the Church of San Bartolomeo, entirely rebuilt after the war.


  • Prato (PO)

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