Squares (plazas, piazzas, places) are great tourist stops. They are usually a beehive of activity, with restaurants, shops, street performers, and often major attractions. They are great places for people-watching and frequently offer a respite from sightseeing since they are places to relax and have a glass of wine or beer or a cup of coffee or tea.
In this series, I will list my favorite squares around the world, with the reasons why they are special. I will present them in groups of five (5) although I will not attempt to rank within the group. However, groups are ranked; group 1 is my all-time favorite 5, while group 2 is next, etc.
Mozartplatz, Salzburg, Austria* — This large square is dedicated to Salzburg’s “favorite son,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. There is a large statue of the famous composer and each hour his music is played by bells resounding across the square.
Piazza Cisterna, San Gimignano, Italy* — This comparatively small square is the centerpiece of this lovely hill town. The “cistern” is the source of the town’s precious water supply. It is a prominent meeting place and provides access to other parts of the medieval town.
Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA* — This large complex is the focal point of Salt Lake City and also of the Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints Religion. Visitors are escorted through a number of buildings and also given a smattering of religious bias, but the experience is worth it.
Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain* — This expansive square can be found inside Maria Luisa Park in the city of Seville. The square has a large fountain and is decorated with the colorful azulejos tiles that are characteristic of the region. A section of the square appeared in one of the Star Wars movies.
Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, California, USA* — This square is named for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company which is located here. It is close to Pier 39 and the San Francisco wharf area so it is close to many of the city’s attractions. It is attractively lit at night and is home to numerous street performers.
* All these locations are included in my walking tours of each city. Check them out by clicking on “Walking Tour Store.”.